WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – More than 11,000 terrorist attacks occurred worldwide last year, killing 14,600 people, as networks inspired by al Qaeda but often not directed by the group spread, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.
While the State Department said a revised methodology meant the numbers could not be compared to the 3,129 international terrorism attacks listed the previous year, the figures may fuel criticism of the Bush administration’s assertion that it is winning the U.S.-led war on terrorism.
In its annual Country Reports on Terrorism, the State Department said that while Iraq was not currently a terrorist safe haven, militant groups such as Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s al-Qaeda in Iraq viewed the country as a potential refuge and sought to make it a terrorist haven.
Iran, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Cuba and North Korea remained on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, despite significantly better cooperation from Sudan and Libya, the report said.
The report sought to avert any conclusion that the sharply higher statistics on attacks meant the war on terrorism was not working.
“This data cannot be meaningfully compared to previous years since it suggests that attacks on civilians may have been occurring at a substantially higher rate than was reflected in previous years’ reporting and accounting,” it said, adding that it was using different counting methods than in past years.