The Global Terrorism Index, published on Tuesday by The Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP) shows that a total of 32,658 people were killed by terrorists around the world in 2014 – an 80 per cent increase on the previous year. Eleven countries have lost more than 500 victims last year.
Victims of the attacks attributed to the Islamic State and Boko Haram (the organisation who pleaded allegiance to the Islamic State and mainly operating in Nigeria) make up for 51% of the total.
The Institute estimates that terrorism cost 52.9 billion dollars (49.6 billion euros) last year alone.
The Index nonetheless shows that 78% of deaths from terrorism occur in just five countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria.
Almost 10,000 people have been killed by attacks in Iraq, whereas the number of victims in Nigeria has exceeded 7,500, an increase of over 300%, the report shows. Steve Killelea, Founder of the Institute, notes that among the eleven countries most affected by these attacks, ten have the most refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP). “This underlines the strong interdependence between the current refugee crisis, terrorism and wars”, he explains.
The study also shows that the risk of being a victim of a terrorist attack is far lower in Western countries, where these acts are more likely to be committed by ‘lone wolves’, acting under the thumb of political extremism, nationalism or racial and religious supremacy, rather than motivated by Islamic fundamentalism.
The UK ranked higher in the Index than other Western countries for acts of this type, especially when taking into consideration Republican paramilitaries in Northern Ireland.
However, with the Paris attacks being claimed by the IS and leaving 129 people dead, we could see a change in this figure soon, says Mr Killelea.
These attacks “represent in many ways a milestone within Europe. It shows that the IS has the means to launch sophisticated and deadly attacks in Europe,” explains Mr Killelea further.