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Global terrorist attacks dropped 13 percent in 2015, U.S. says

On Thursday, the U.S. State Department issued its 2015 Country Reports on Terrorism, an annual assessment of the global terrorism landscape and how the U.S. dealt with it. The report's headline numbers, compiled by University of Maryland researchers, are that terrorist attacks fell by 13 percent in 2015 versus 2014, and terrorism deaths fell 14 percent, to 28,300, mostly due to a drop in deaths and attacks in Iraq, Pakistan, and Nigeria. "I must emphasize that the numbers alone do not provide the full context," said Justin Siberell, the acting coordinator for counterterrorism, at a State Department briefing.

Terrorist attacks and deaths actually increased in a handful of countries last year, including Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, the Philippines, and Bangladesh, and 55 percent of all attacks took place in just five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Nigeria. The Islamic State remains "the greatest terrorism threat globally," Siberell said, noting that ISIS has lost ground in Iraq and Syria but gained it in Egypt and Libya, for example. And "Iran remains the leading state sponsor of terrorism globally." You can read the report or a summary at BBC News, or watch the entire press briefing below. Peter Weber