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The Global Terrorism Index (GTI) Report

The tenth annual edition of the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) reveals attacks are more deadly with 26% more people dying in each incident – the first rise in lethality in five years.

After substantial improvements in terrorism activity between 2016 and 2019, progress has plateaued with both attacks and deaths remaining roughly the same since 2019. The number of countries recording a death ranged from 43 in 2020 to 42 in 2022.

The hub of terrorism is rapidly changing and moving towards countries facing political instability, conflict, and ecological degradation, particularly in the Sahel. Eight out of the ten countries within this region have the worst scores for food and water scarcity according to the 2022 ETRBurkina Faso is an illustration of this shift, where deaths caused by terrorism rose by 50% to 1,135, and the number of deaths per attack increased by 8%, leaving the country with the highest death toll.

Last year, terrorism resulted in 6,701 deaths, 38% lower than at their peak in 2015. However, the lethality rate of the two deadliest terrorist groups is increasing. IS, the deadliest, saw an increase of 12% to 2.9 deaths per attack, while al-Shabaab’s lethality rate is at its highest level since 2017, increasing by 32% to 2.5 persons per attack. This highlights that the effectiveness of these two groups is rising. The next two deadliest terrorist groups were Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and Jamaat Nusrat Al-Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM). IS remained the deadliest terrorist group for the eighth consecutive year, while the BLA, operating in Pakistan, is now the fastest growing terrorist group in the world, with terrorism deaths increasing nine times to 233 deaths in 2022.

Deaths from terrorism in the Sahel increased by 7% and are now higher than South Asia and MENA combined. The area is also the most impacted region in the world, representing 43% of deaths from terrorism globally. The region also faces some of the worst ecological degradation, which is amplified by climate change. The challenges are systemic and include poor food security, lack of adequate water, weak governance, rampant criminality, and some of the fastest population growth rates globally. The region has suffered from six coup attempts since 2021, of which four were successful.

In MENA the overall score continued to improve, building on the last six years with the proportion of global terrorism deaths substantially dropping, from 57% in 2016 to just under 12% in 2022. The region recorded 791 deaths in 2022, a fall of 32% and the lowest number in the region since 2013. Attacks almost halved to 695. There has also been a substantial drop in suicide bombings in MENA, in 2016, suicide bombings resulted in 1,947 deaths. In 2022, there were only six suicide bombings that killed eight people.

In the West, the number of attacks continues to fall, with successive falls each year since 2017. Forty attacks were recorded in 2022, a decrease of 27% when compared to the 55 attacks in 2021. However, the number of deaths more than doubled, rising from a low base of nine in 2021 to 19 in 2022. Ten of the deaths were caused by one attack in the US when a gunman killed civilians at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. This is the first increase in deaths in the West since 2019. Ideologically motivated terrorism, meaning those related to political extremism, continues to be the most common type of terrorism in the West, with religiously motivated terrorism declining by 89% since the peak in 2016.

The dynamics of terrorism are changing with unclaimed attacks becoming more common. Of the 3,955 terrorist attacks recorded in 2022, 33% were not attributed to a group. The fastest growing segment was unknown Jihadists, especially in the Sahel, with deaths eighteen times higher than in 2017.

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