- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Terrorists killed fewer people internationally during 2017 despite an uptick in attacks across North America, a global think tank reported Wednesday.

The total number of deaths caused by acts of terrorism dropped 27 percent between 2016 and 2017, the Institute for Economics & Peace concluded in the latest edition of its annual Global Terrorism Index.

North America experienced a surge in terrorist activity during the same span, however, with far-right extremists being blamed for a rash of recent attacks in both U.S. and Canada, the report said.

The number of known terrorism-related deaths in the U.S. and Canada increased for the fourth year in a row, according to the report, jumping from 65 deaths in 2016 to 85 deaths in 2017.

“Although the majority of deaths from terrorism in North America since the turn of the century have been related to Jihadist groups, there has been a resurgence of far-right political terrorism in the past few years,” the report noted.

“The year 2017 has been the second-deadliest year for North America with regards to far-right terrorism since 2002, with 16 deaths from 31 incidents,” its authors wrote.

Despite a surge in attacks across both U.S. and Canada, the total number of terrorism-related deaths dropped for the third year in a row, thanks largely to ongoing efforts aimed at eradicating the Islamic State extremist group, the report said.

In Iraq and Syria, for example, the number of annual terrorism-related deaths fell last year by about 5,500 and 1,000, respectively, according to the report.

The majority of the 85 terrorism-related deaths reported in North America last year stem from the October mass shooting that killed 59 people at a country music festival held in Las Vegas. The FBI said that Stephen Paddock conducted the rampage from a hotel suite overlooking the Las Vegas Strip, though investigators ultimately closed the case without determining a motive.

The deadliest North American terrorist attack blamed on a far-right extremist last year was the January rampage that killed six people inside a Quebec mosque, according to the report. It was the only terror attack in Canada that resulted in casualties, the report said.

The FBI did not immediately return a request for comment.

Established in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, the Institute for Economics & Peace describes itself as an independent, nonpartisan organization devoted to “promoting a better understanding of the social and economic factors that develop a more peaceful society.”

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