US tags Iran anew as top terror sponsor, as global attacks fall

US terrorism report Iran tagged as top terror sponsor global attacks fall

An annual survey on global terrorism, released by the State Department on September 19, said Iran and its proxies are responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining USA interests in the region.

Sales noted, "The threats posed by Iran's support for terrorism are not confined to the Middle East; they are truly global".

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.

The number of worldwide terrorist attacks dropped by 23 percent previous year compared with 2016, according to the report, a change largely due to gains against the Islamic State group in Iraq. European firms, especially those from France and Germany, rushed to invest in Iran following the 2015 accord, under which Tehran agreed to freeze its nuclear program in return for an end to punishing worldwide sanctions.

"We've seen operational activity not just in Lebanon by Hezbollah, but by Iran-backed terrorists in the heart of Europe", said head of the State Department's Counterterrorism Bureau and Ambassador-at-Large Nathan Sales.

The report specifically cited the activities of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani, leader of the Revolutionary Guard, who helped organise Iraqi militias against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

In addition, the survey reported a 24 percent decrease in attacks around the world between 2016 and 2017.

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A major factor behind the declines was a sharp drop in terrorist attacks in Iraq.

Nearly 59 per cent of all terrorist attacks in 2017 took place in five Asian countries, including India and Pakistan, a U.S. report said today.

"Despite our successes, the terrorist landscape grew more complex in 2017", the report said.

The report stated that IS and groups that pledged allegiance to IS carried out attacks in more than 20 countries worldwide in 2017.

"They have largely remained out of the headlines in recent years", Sales said Wednesday, "but we shouldn't confuse a period of relative quiet with al-Qaida's abandonment of its capabilities or its intentions to strike us or our allies".

With regard to geographical concentration of attacks, 59 percent of all attacks took place in five countries, Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Pakistan, and the Philippines, with 70 percent of all deaths due to terrorist attacks occurring in Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, and Syria.

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