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State Department: Terror attacks, deaths worldwide decreased in 2017

A new U.S. State Department terrorism report Wednesday concluded that militant attacks decreased by nearly a quarter last year.

The annual "Country Reports on Terrorism" analysis, which itemizes attacks, showed that a decline of violence in Iraq was largely responsible for the overall decrease.

The deaths of 4,269 people in Iraq were attributed to terrorism in 2017, compared to just under 9.800 in 2016. The number of attacks was nearly 2,000 -- down from about 3,000.

"Although terrorist attacks took place in 100 countries in 2017, they were concentrated geographically. Fifty-nine percent of all attacks took place in five countries. Those are Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Pakistan, and the Philippines," said Nathan Sales, State Department counter-terror coordinator, in a Wednesday briefing prior to the report's release. "Similarly, 70 percent of all deaths due to terrorist attacks took place in five countries, and those are Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, and Syria."
The 340-page report notes an increase between the United States and international partners in

information sharing and enhancement of law enforcement and action to reduce terrorist recruitment.

Seventy-one countries have signed a United Nations agreement calling for use of watch lists, biometrical data and other methods to disrupt the travel of suspected terrorists.

The State Department report also says about 4.5 million people in Iraq and 3.2 million in Syria were liberated from control of the Islamic State in 2017, as IS control of territory in those countries weakened.

"Despite our successes, the terrorist landscape grew more complex in 2017," the report said. "ISIS [Islamic State], al-Qaida, and their affiliates have proven to be resilient, determined, and adaptable, and they have adjusted to heightened counter-terrorism pressure in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and elsewhere."
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