From i24 News

“…the number of suicide bombings around the world surged 94 percent in 2014 amid the rise of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Tel Aviv-based Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) said, in a report to be published Sunday, the daily Haaretz reported.

Some 3,400 people were killed in suicide attacks last year, compared with 2,200 in 2013, a 37.5 percent increase. There were 592 bombings, compared with 305 in 2013, the INSS, a research institute and think tank affiliated with Tel Aviv University, found.

The significant increase in the role played by terrorist organizations identified with al-Qaida and global jihad in the planning and execution of suicide attacks is expected to continue in 2015 as well, the report said.

Tauseef Mustafa (AFP)“In this photogaph taken on July 18, 2014, Kashmiri demonstrators hold up a flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) during an anti-Israeli rally in Srinagar”

“Suicide bombings are not just an effective tactic for them in terms of their goal of causing death and destruction and establishing fear, but are also a commercial symbol and proof of the willingness of their activists to sacrifice themselves in the way of God,” the INSS pointed out in the report.

As in recent years, these organizations were responsible for most suicide bombings around the world in 2014. Similarly to 2013, most of the attacks were carried out against the local population as part of an internal struggle, particularly in countries in which the regime lacks legitimacy.

The study’s authors are Yoram Schweitzer, the head of the INSS’ program on terrorism and low-intensity conflict; research associate Einav Yogev; and Ariel Levin. They used reporting from more than one source before labeling an incident a suicide bombing and included “only attacks whose details could be verified.”

Much of the increase in the Middle East can be attributed to the rise of IS, the report said.

There was a significant rise in the number of suicide bombings in the Middle East last year: 370 attacks with some 2,750 dead, compared with 163 and 1,950 killed in 2013.

The most prominent trend in the region in 2014 was, again, the increase in the number of attacks in Iraq (271 attacks, up from 98). Suicide attacks in Iraq made up 45 percent of all such attacks worldwide in 2014. The attacks were mostly directed against the civilian population, primarily in restaurants, markets, and mosques, and at funerals and in funeral tents.

SITE Intelligence Group/AFP
SITE Intelligence Group/AFP“An image grab taken from a video released by the Islamic State and identified by private terrorism monitor SITE on September 13, 2014 purportedly shows a masked militant before beheading British aid worker David Haines”

Interestingly, many of the suicide bombers in Iraq were foreigners who volunteered for IS.

The intelligence and operational vacuum that US forces left behind is still being felt in Iraq and is weakening the Iraqi security forces’ intelligence capabilities and ability to thwart attacks, the report said.

In Africa, terrorist organization Boko Haram stood out in 2014. The suicide attacks conducted by Boko Haram — 32 killing some 500 people — made up half the number of such attacks the organization has carried out since it started using the tactic in 2011.

AFP/File“An eleven-year-old boy who survived a bomb explosion by suspected Boko Haram Islamists targetting football fans, lies on a bed in a government hospital in Damaturu, northern Nigeria on June 18, 2014”

Fifteen suicide bombings in 2014 were carried out by women, compared with five in 2013, which saw a trend toward declining involvement of women in suicide terror.

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