Terrorism on the increase, US reports

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The number of people killed by terrorism rose by 40 per cent worldwide last year, largely due to increased violence in war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq, a US report states.

Research by the US state department found that the number of terrorist attacks worldwide in 2006 increased by 28 per cent from 11,153 in 2005 to 14,338 last year.

As the number of attacks have increased so too have the number of deaths with a 40 per cent increase in 2006 to a total of 20,498.

Attacks in war-torn Iraq have nearly doubled in the past year from 3,468 to 6,630 while deaths in the country account for 65 per cent of all terrorism-related deaths in the past year – one of the bloodiest years in the country since the US-led invasion of Iraq by coalition troops in 2003.

Yet the report, complied by the US national counterterrorism centre (NCTC) for the state department, believes that despite increases in troops in Iraq, al-Qaida has adapted to counter-terrorism movements, displaying flexibility towards warfare.

"Although we have killed or captured numerous senior al-Qaida operatives, al-Qaida's core elements are resilient and they remain the immediate national security threat," said Frank Urbancic, director of NCTC.

The report also noted a shift in the nature of terrorist groups in reaction to counter-terrorist movements.

"A deeper trend is the shift in the nature of terrorism, from traditional international terrorism of the late 20th century into a new form of trans-national non-state warfare that resembles a form of global insurgency," the report stated.

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