Terror attacks and fatalities fell worldwide in 2016 even as other trends rose, according to new data released this month by the Global Terrorism Database. The number of hostages taken, for example, nearly doubled. Seven out of the 10 deadliest terror attacks involved kidnapping and hostage-taking, and in each one, more than 100 victims were abducted and killed.
“Those attacks (in the West) remain the minority, a very small minority of attacks we see,” said Erin Miller, program manager of the Global Terrorism Database (GTD). “Obviously, these major attacks get so much attention, because they’re unusual and they’re newsworthy, and the Middle East blurs into the background.”
The GTD is an open-source database of terror incidents around the world maintained by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence located at the University of Maryland. In the database, terror attacks are defined as acts of violence that are intentional and do not include incidents caused by state actors or governments.
In addition, they must include two out of three of the following factors: an economic, social or religious goal; an intended audience that reaches beyond its victims; and a context beyond the scope of legitimate warfare.
The deadliest terror attack in 2016 took place in the Karrada district of Baghdad on July 3, near the end of the holy month of Ramadan. In a shopping center filled with people buying clothes and gifts before the festival of Eid al-Fitr, an ISIS suicide bomber detonated a truck full of explosives, killing 382 and wounding 200 more. (In December, an attack led by ISIS in…