WASHINGTON (SBG) - In 2017, the number of terrorist attacks reached 10,900, with more than 18,000 victims killed. It’s a 20-percent decrease from the year before, according to a report just published by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.
"So, I think the large story here is the overall decline in terrorism for three years running, globally," said William Braniff, START’s director.
But Braniff added the decrease is in part due to the cooling of some tensions and resolving of some conflicts in places like Nigeria and Turkey.
"Terrorism feeds off of violent conflict like a leech; violent conflict zones are the oxygen for their fire," he said in an interview Wednesday.
But those numbers just paint the big picture. Terror attacks actually went up in Western Europe, South America and North America -- including the United States.
That includes the mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in October 2017, which left 58 dead and more than 800 injured, one in a growing trend of attacks carried out not by Muslim extremists but by Americans who identity as far right. In this case, suspect Stephen Paddock was labeled by the report’s researchers an anti-government extremist.
"A lot of these individuals aren’t part of a formal group. If they engage in violence to advance an ideological goal, we would likely capture that as an act of terrorism in a violent, far-right umbrella," Braniff said.
Still, the three countries with the most fatalities as a result of terrorist attacks were Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, making it a continued challenge for world leaders moving forward -- finding new ways to battle a threat that comes in such varied shapes, sizes and ideologies.