- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 16, 2017

Last year’s mass shooting inside Pulse nightclub in Orlando propelled the annual number of deaths linked to domestic extremist-related attacks to their highest level since the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and also marked the first time in 30 years that right-wing extremists were not responsible for the bulk of the deaths, according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League.

A preliminary tally of extremist-related deaths in the United States shows that 69 people, including the 49 slain in Orlando, died in extremist-related attacks last year.

Orlando gunman Omar Mateen’s pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda leaders during the massacre led to classification of the attack as domestic Islamic extremism — setting 2016’s extremism figures far afield from prior years. In the recent past, extremism-related deaths were more likely to be linked to right-wing extremism, the report states.

Of the 372 people killed in the United States over the 10 years, 74 percent of those who died were killed by right-wing extremists. About 24 percent were killed by domestic Islamic extremists and the remaining 2 percent killed by left-wing extremists, according to the report released Thursday.

“Anti-government extremists and white supremacists were responsible for only a minority of extremist related deaths in 2016, though they did commit two triple homicides,” states the ADL report “Murder and Extremism in the United States in 2016.” “These low figures also occurred during a year in which non-violent right-wing extremist activity was high, in large part due to agitation and propaganda by the so-called alt-right and other extremists in connection with the 2016 presidential election.”

The ADL has not included the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in similar past analysis because the attacks were not carried out by domestic extremists.

ADL experts caution in this year’s report that the high number of deaths in the Orlando massacre can distort statistics and perceptions of the extremist landscape in the country, and were it not for that single attack that 2016 might have been considered a “mild year” for extremist-related deaths.

Including the Orlando attack, the ADL report counts 11 lethal incidents that were connected to extremism in 2016 — compared to 29 incidents that resulted 65 deaths in 2015. Experts say additional analysis may result in an increase in the number of deaths associated with domestic extremism, as has been the case in prior years.

Among the other lethal incidents highlighted by the ADL was the targeting of police officers by black nationalists. In July, two separate attacks on law enforcement by men with black nationalist ties left eight police officers dead.

The attacks, in Dallas, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, “represent the worst spate of black nationalist-related murders of police officers since the late 1960s and early 1970s, when more than two dozen police officers, and several more corrections officers, were killed by black nationalists, particularly from the Black Liberation Army and the Black Panther Party,” the ADL report states.

Since 1965, the ADL reports that 104 police officers have been killed by domestic extremists — including 57 by right-wing affiliated individuals, 44 by left-wing affiliated individuals including anarchists and black nationalists, and three have been killed by domestic Islamic extremists.

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