Published On: Tue, Jan 12th, 2016

2015 Data: Muslims responsible for 99% of all suicide terrorist attacks

The great news is that there were fewer suicide attacks worldwide in 2015 than 2014, “only” 452 as compared with 592, according to a new report by an Israeli research team. While it may not be shocking, but nearly all of those suicide attacks were executed by Muslims.

But drawing conclusions from a mere comparison of the overall figures is “not smart,” cautions Yoram Schweitzer, the head of the Program on Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies.

For one thing, the 2014 figure was strikingly high (2013 saw a markedly lower 382 suicide attacks), so nobody should start feeling encouraged.

Schweitzer and his team tracked suicide terrorism statistics that goes well beyond simple totals, publishing the conclusions of his latest report, some methodology and context.

As detailed by The Times of Israel, “We do not count every claim of a suicide attack. In other words, it’s not enough if Islamic State claims a certain number of suicide attacks. Quite a few groups like to claim that they carried out suicide attacks to make themselves look more important and powerful. We always rely on at least two sources to determine that a suicide attack really did take place. Even then, every determination we make is always qualified because we can never be exact about the percentages, and certainly not in places like Syria,” Schweitzer explained.

“Then we come to another issue,” he added. “Which terror attacks we define as suicide attacks and which we do not. My own definition includes all terror attacks that were perpetrated by a suicide bomber who carried explosive material on his person or on a mobile platform. They are planted inside or sent to the targets, and their certain deaths define them as suicides. In other words, the definition does not include ‘sacrifice’ attacks of various kinds, or people wielding knives or scissors.”

On data gathering, the researching stated that “Another important point that we need to understand here is that we do not count suicide attacks according to the number of suicide attackers. In other words, we consider the terror attack that took place in Paris two months ago as a single attack, even though there were seven suicide terrorists.”

2015 Summary (Emphasis added, BBJ The Dispatch)

“Unlike what people usually think, last year was not exceptionally ‘wild’ as regards suicide attacks. There were far fewer attacks than in 2014, although the number of fatalities remained almost the same — 4,370 people killed in 2015 as compared with 4,400 people the year before.”

Which means, “to put it another way, the terror attacks are more deadly.”

Schweitzer elaborates: “As far as the number of suicide attackers, there were roughly 735 in 2015 as compared with 937 the previous year. As regards the ratio of suicide attackers to terror attacks, there were almost two suicide attackers per terror attack in 2014, and the statistic for 2015 is not too far from that either.”

photo/Islamic State flag

photo/Islamic State flag

The Middle East continues to lead the list in the number of terror attacks, just as it did in 2014.

There is a highly significant decrease here: 207 terror attacks in the Middle East in 2015 as opposed to 370 in 2014 — a decline of 44 percent. The decrease in the number of terror attacks is attributed mainly to the dramatic reduction in the number of attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, which had topped the list in recent years.

According to Schweitzer, 115 terror attacks took place in Iraq in 2015 as opposed to 271 in 2014, perhaps because of the relative stability in regions that were formerly part of Iraq (some of them under Islamic State’s domination, others ruled by the Iraqi government, and the third an autonomous Kurdish region).

In Afghanistan, 69 terror attacks took place in 2015, as compared with 124 in 2014. The number of terror attacks decreased in Lebanon as well (three in 2015, as compared with 13 in 2014), and in Yemen (13 in 2015, as compared with 29 in 2014, although a particularly deadly terror attack took place there in March, killing 137 people). In 2015, 24 terror attacks by the Pakistani Taliban took place in Pakistan (as opposed to 36 in 2014), and one terror attack took place in Tunisia.

The number of suicide attacks in Syria remained about the same, with 39 in 2015, as compared with 41 in 2014.

Egypt experienced an increase, with 12 attacks in 2015, as compared with four in 2014 (most of them in Sinai).

The number went up slightly in Libya, from 11 in 2014 to 13 in 2015. Five suicide attacks took place in Saudi Arabia in 2015, compared to only one suicide attack there in 2014.

Africa is a hot spot

“The largest increase for the year was in Africa,” Schweitzer says, “with 122 suicide attacks in 2015 as compared with 32 terror attacks in 2014.

The responsible party is Wilayat Gharb Ifriqiyya, the Islamic State’s West African group, formerly known as Boko Haram and Ansaru, which joined IS last March. In 2015, 96 suicide attacks took place in Nigeria, 13 in Cameroon, eight in Chad and five in Niger.

“The attacks began spreading beyond Nigeria’s borders only in 2015, after Boko Haram and Ansaru affiliated themselves with the Islamic State,” he notes. “These new countries where suicide attacks were carried out had been part of a coalition that worked against Boko Haram. In other words, the attacks had two factors in common. One was Islamic State’s desire to spread, ideologically and physically, throughout the region as much as possible. The other was its desire to hurt those who had attacked it.”

He continues, “The second motif that appears to be on the increase is the number of terror attacks carried out by women. This is an important point. In 2015, 66 terror attacks were carried out solely by women, out of a total of 70 terror attacks in which women were involved, as compared with only 13 in 2014. In 2015, 124 women took part in suicide attacks, as compared with 19 in 2014. Almost all of them — 120 out of 124 — were dispatched by Wilayat Gharb Ifriqiyya. So, in fact, the number of women suicide attackers increased in only one region: Africa. The other four female suicide attackers were from Somalia, Afghanistan, Turkey and India. Of the 120 women attackers from Africa, 35 were teenagers and children aged eight to 18.”


Check out the full The Times of Israel report

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Fortunate to Have the U.S. Constitution - Steve Pomper | Author - Author, libertarian, Cop says:

    […] sweeping proposal, I do agree with increased scrutiny of any group responsible for more than 99% of the terrorist, suicide attacks in the […]

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