NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 8, 2005

There were nearly 3,200 terrorist attacks worldwide last year, a federal counterterrorism center said Tuesday, using a broader definition that increased fivefold the number of attacks the agency had been counting.

The National Counterterrorism Center's interim director, John Brennan, called a new database that was to go online Wednesday "the most comprehensive U.S. effort to date to track terrorist incidents worldwide." But he cautioned that comparing the new tally to previous ones was like comparing apples to oranges.

  • In 2004, there were 3,192 terrorist attacks worldwide with 28,433 people wounded, killed or kidnapped.
  • Iraq, with 866 attacks, had the most terrorist attacks against civilians and other noncombatants; the number includes attacks on Iraqis by Iraqis, a category previously excluded because it was not considered international terrorism.
  • Other countries or regions with the greatest number of terror attacks in 2004 included India with 358 attacks, Nepal with 318, Gaza Strip with 248 and Russia with 162.

Terrorism statistics have become a hot button issue in the war on terror but critics have said previous government reports did not reflect an increase in global terrorism. Brennan and other government officials blame human error and a definition of terrorism that had not been updated since the 1980s.

The new definition of terrorism includes politically motivated violence carried out by extremist groups within a country, often aimed at changing their own government's policies.

The previous definition focused on international terrorism and required that the terrorists victimize at least one citizen of another country. Also, previously, only attacks resulting in more than $10,000 damage or serious injuries were counted. The new definition includes all injuries and puts no limit on damages.

Source: Associated Press, "Terror Attacks Near 3,200 in 2004 Count," Washington Post, July 5, 2005.


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