The number of terrorist attacks documented by US authorities
jumped sharply in 2005, crossing the 10,000 mark for the first
time, US media reported Friday.
In comparison, authorities reported 3,192 terrorist attacks in
US officials cautioned that much of the increase, due to be
reported publicly by the State Department next week, stems from a
change of the definition of terror attacks, coupled with a more
aggressive effort to tally such violence worldwide.
Last year, the United States adopted a new, broader definition
of terrorism, which includes all "premeditated violence directed
against noncombatants for political purposes."
The previous definition focused on international terrorism and
required that the terrorists victimize at least one citizen of
Meanwhile, nongovernmental organizations, the news media, Web
sites and other sources have increased their efforts to find and
document terror attacks.
Nevertheless, US officials acknowledged that some of the rise in
terror incidents could be traced to the war in Iraq, where foreign
terrorists, a homegrown insurgency and sectarian strife have all
contributed to political bloodshed.
Over half of the fatalities from terrorism worldwide last year
occurred in Iraq, and roughly 85 percent of the US citizens who
died from terrorism during the year died in Iraq.
The figures cover only noncombatants and thus do not include
combat deaths of US or Iraqi soldiers.
US State Department's counter terrorism coordinator Henry
Crumpton told Congress earlier this month that although the
leadership of al-Qaida may be isolated and unable to communicate
effectively, regional terrorist groups have established networks of
their own, a development that, in a way, poses even more daunting
strategic policy challenges.
Meanwhile, he said the terrorists have found themselves a new
haven: cyberspace, which they are using for recruitment, propaganda
and even training.
(Xinhua News Agency April 22, 2006)