London According to an international study, right-wing extremist attacks have increased massively in recent years. In North America, Western Europe and Oceania, the number of these acts has risen by 250 percent since 2014, found the researchers of the annual Global Terrorism Index, which the Institute for Economics and Peace presented on Wednesday in London.
In the case of fatalities, the increase within five years was even more than 700 percent. There are now more right-wing attacks than at any other time in the past 50 years, the researchers write. In 2019, a total of 89 people were killed in such acts.
“With the start of a new decade, we see new terrorist threats. The rise in right-wing extremism in the West and the deterioration in the Sahel are major examples, ”said the Institute’s Executive Director Steve Killelea.
From the Islamist side, attacks by smaller groups that sympathize with the so-called Islamic State (IS) are currently seen – as in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also in Europe, such as the incidents in France and Austria.
Overall, however, the number of deaths from terrorism has fallen for the fifth year in a row: In the past five years, this number has fallen by almost 60 percent – in 2019 it was slightly less than 14,000 deaths worldwide.
Compared to the previous year, this was a decrease of 15 percent. In addition, fewer and fewer countries are affected by terrorism at all: Last year, 63 countries had at least one terrorist death – this is the lowest number since 2013.
Corona crisis could exacerbate the trend
The authors of the study write that the resilience of many highly developed Western societies has declined in recent years. The corona pandemic could exacerbate this trend and, because of the uncertain economic outlook, lead to even more political instability.
Measures would therefore have to be taken to deprive terrorist organizations of their media presence and funding and to prevent people from becoming supporters of the movements.
Although the number of victims from Islamist terrorist attacks is still in the thousands, the authors of the study see a significant decrease. The influence and power of IS is steadily declining.
According to the report, for the first time since the terrorist militia became active, the death toll was below 1000 in 2019. The organization that is responsible for most of the victims of terrorist attacks remains the Taliban – but here too the trend is downward.
Persistent crises and conflicts continue to be the main drivers of terrorism, according to the study. More than 96 percent of terrorist attacks occurred in countries with ongoing conflicts such as Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Somalia or Yemen.
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