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Arab countries 'hardest hit' by terrorism

Boko Haram have kidnapped and murdered thousands in Nigeria [AFP]

Date of publication: 30 November, 2015

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Several Arab countries are among those hit hardest by bombings, kidnappings and shootings, a global think tank reported.

Iraq, Syria and Yemen are among the countries hardest hit by terrorism according to a recent report published by the Institute for Economics and Peace.

The Global Terrorism Index placed Iraq as the country most impacted by terrorism, with Syria in fifth place.

Arab League states Yemen, Somalia and Libya were all featured in the ten countries most hit by armed groups.

Afghanistan, which is dealing with an insurgency from Taliban militants, was placed second in the index.

Nigeria which has witnessed a massive spike in bombings, kidnappings and other violence from Boko Haram militia group over the past year. 

Boko Haram is situated mostly in the Muslim-majority north, and the group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group leadership in early 2015.

Nigeria's President Mohammed Buhari recently said that Boko Haram had killed at least 10,000 people and uprooted two million people, including 500,000 children, over the past six years.

Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia and Yemen have all been wracked by internal fighting and power vacuums in recent years. Analysts said that this has allowed extremist groups linked to IS and al-Qaeda to proliferate.

The Global Terrorism Index is based on data collected from a database of more than 140,000 recorded terrorist incidents from across the world.

Countries were marked on a score of 0-10 with "ten" for those most devastated by armed groups.

Around 78 percent of the deaths from terrorism occurred in Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria. In 2014, the number of fatalities from these groups was up by 80 percent from the year before.

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Researchers also found that 92 per cent of all terrorist attacks between 1989 and 2014 took places in countries where political violence by goverment forces are most widespread.

The report also linked countries with the highest numbers of refugees as those most inflicted by terrorism.

Boko Haram and IS were responsible for over half of terrorist-related murders, but the extremist group has inflicted more deaths on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq than through bombings.

IS forces are fighting a range of enemies in Iraq and Syria, including Syrian rebels, the government forces, Kurdish militias, Iraqi government forces and allied paramilitaries.

Is is suspected of killing 20,000 people in battle and 6,000 through terrorism.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's force - which evolved from al-Qaeda in Iraq and took over much of northern Iraq and eastern Syria in 2014 - has been boosted by an influx of foreign fighters and an expansion of its franchise into Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, along with other countries. 

Affiliates are mostly confined to small territorial areas and carrying out bombings of civilian areas and security forces.

Between 25,000 and 30,000 foreign fighters have flocked to its territories since 2011.

Around half have come from Arab states, 21 percent from Europe and four percent from Turkey.

Only 2.6 percent of the total deaths from terrorism since 2000 have taken place in Western countries.

Eighty percent of lone wolf terrorist attacks in the West were carried out by right-wing and political extremists.
 
Among those from the Middle East region that had "no impact of terrorism" included Oman and Qatar.
 

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