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Terrorism rising at 'unprecedented pace'

By David Mercer

Terrorism is on the rise at an "unprecedented pace" after the number of deaths from terror attacks soared to its highest level last year, a study has found.

A total of 32,658 people were killed by terrorists around the world in 2014 - an 80% increase on the previous year, according to the Global Terrorism Index.

The Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP), which produced the index before Friday's attacks in Paris, said the atrocity in the French capital had shown Islamic State (IS), also known as Isil or Isis, could now launch "sophisticated and deadly attacks" in Europe.

The IEP's executive chairman Steve Killelea told the Press Association: "Terrorism is gaining momentum at an unprecedented pace.

"The Paris incident in many ways is a watershed within Europe. It shows that Isil has the capabilities to be able to launch sophisticated and deadly attacks in Europe.

"The UK certainly could be the victim of one of these types of attacks. We saw with al Qaida, its ability to be able to perform deadly attacks in London which brought the city to a standstill.

"However the UK, because of its border protection from being an island, makes it a lot harder for terrorists to get in."

The index ranks the level of terrorism in 162 countries - representing 99.5% of the world's population - by measuring the number of attacks, injuries, deaths and property damage as a result of terror attacks.

The UK ranked 28th in the index - higher than the United States, Iran and France, although the report did not include the impact of the Paris attacks in which 129 people were killed.

Terrorism remained highly concentrated in just five countries, with Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria accounting for 78% of terror-related deaths in 2014, the index found.

The UK recorded the highest number of terrorist incidents of Western countries with 102 last year, although they did not result in any deaths. The majority of the attacks were in Northern Ireland and involved the New IRA, the report said.

Mr Killelea warned that IS fighters returning to Europe could be capable of more deadly attacks because of their military training.

Between 25,000 and 30,000 foreign fighters have arrived in Iraq and Syria since 2011, including more than 7,000 in the first half of 2015, the report found.

Meanwhile Britain provided the fourth highest number of foreign fighters from countries where Muslims are not the majority, with about 600 arriving in Iraq and Syria since 2011, it added.

Mr Killelea said: "The flood of foreign fighters is not stopping.

"Lone wolf terrorists tend to be less deadly than others and that's simply because of the lack of military training. The returning fighters from Syria will have the military training.

"The Paris attacks were definitely an organised group and it would appear at this stage, they definitely had military training.

"The tactics of Isis are changing. They are targeting more private citizens.

"It's difficult - taking the time frame forward two years - to see the Isis threat disappearing."

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Paris attacks the latest in a string of terrorist massacres

The terror that unfolded in Paris has been described as the worst violence to hit France since the Second World War.

Terrorists have used different methods to inflict destruction around the world in recent years. Here are some of the most horrific attacks in recent times:

Beirut bombings

On Thursday, 41 people were killed and at least 239 wounded in two suicide bombings in the deadliest bombing in the capital since the end of Lebanon's civil war in 1990.

The so-called slamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility. Hezbollah forces are currently fighting Isis in neighbouring Syria.

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Lebanon detains 9 terror suspects days after suicide attacks 

2,000 slaughtered in Nigeria

As the world's media coverage focused on the Charlie Hebo attacks in Paris in January this year another terror attack was unfolding , more than 2000 Nigerians were reported to have been killed by Islamist militants Boko Haram.

The attack in Baga in the north-eastern state of Borno was described by Amnesty International as the group's 'deadliest massacre'. Local authorities said they had given up counting the bodies as more than 30,000 were forced to flee their homes.

Read more

Nigeria's ignored massacre: 2,000 slaughtered by Boko Haram, 30,000 flee their homes 

Kenya school attacks

147 people were murdered and at least 79 injured in an attack by al-Shabab on Garissa University, Kenya in April.

It was the deadliest assault yet by the Islamist group. Using explosives to blast away the main gate, Islamist militants forced their way into the campus of Garissa University College at 5.30am, shooting dead a security guard before storming a hostel.

As with the Baga attacks, some users on social media questioned the media coverage of this attack and subsequent social media response. Some posts have asked where were Kenyan flag filters on Facebook following this attack.

"When 147 Kenyans were murdered, I didn’t see anybody changing their profile pic," said one user this morning.

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Kenya al-Shabab attacks: Students murdered as they spoke to parents on phone

Anders Behring Breivik

In 2011 77 people were killed by right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik in Norway.

Breivik, who is serving a 21-year prison sentence, confessed to the bomb attack at government headquarters that killed eight people and a shooting rampage at a youth camp on Utoya island where he murdered 69 others.

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Norway's Christians didn't have to apologise for Anders Breivik, and it's the same for Muslims now 

Omagh bomb

On August 15, 1998, 29 victims - who included a woman pregnant with twins - died after a dissident republican car bomb detonated in Omagh town centre on a busy Saturday afternoon.

It was the single bloodiest terrorist attack in the history of the Northern Ireland Troubles and came only months after the signing of the historic Good Friday Agreement.

More than 200 were injured when the 500lb car bomb, planted by the Real IRA, ripped through the Co Tyrone market town.

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We'll never think of Omagh as an ordinary place again

9/11

Nearly 3,000 people, including 67 Britons, were killed after Islamist extremists hijacked passenger jets and flew them into New York's World Trade Centre twin towers and the Pentagon in Washington DC on September 11, 2001.

The world watched in horror as the hijacked planes emerged from a clear blue sky to strike at the heart of one of the world's greatest cities.

Televised live around the globe to a shocked audience of billions, the 9/11 attacks were meticulously planned by Islamist fanatics to kill as many people and gain as much publicity as possible.

Read more

How we reported the breaking news in 2001: Terror blitz on America 

Bali attacks

A total of 202 people, including 28 Britons, were killed on October 12, 2002 and more than 204 injured when the al Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah group detonated bombs at two packed Bali nightspots.

During the attack three bombs detonated - a backpack carried by a suicide bomber and a car bomb which both devastated Paddy's Pub and the Sari Club opposite, followed by a third device outside the US consulate in Denpasar.

Various members of Jemaah Islamiyah were convicted in relation to the bombings. Three - Imam Samudra, Amrozi Nurhasyim and Huda bin Abdul Haq - were executed by firing squad in November 2008.

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Bali relatives seek final justice 

Madrid train bombings

The whole of Spain was in mourning when more than 190 people were killed in the Madrid train bombs on March 11, 2004.

The attacks took place exactly two-and-a-half years after September 11 and were Europe's worst terrorist atrocity since the 1988 Lockerbie plane bombing.

London-based Arabic language Al Quds newspaper said it received an e-mail from the Brigade of Abu Hafs al-Masri, who claimed its ''death squad'' had penetrated ''one of the pillars of the crusader alliance''.

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Spain train bomb victims remembered 

7/7

On July 7, 2005, 52 people were murdered and hundreds more injured when four suicide bombers attacked London's transport network.

Twenty-six died in the bombing at Russell Square on the Piccadilly line, six in the bombing at Edgware Road on the Circle line, seven in the bombing at Aldgate on the Circle line, and 13 in the bombing on the bus at Tavistock Square.

A fortnight later, another four would-be suicide bombers launched failed attacks on the Tube and a bus, leading police marksmen to kill innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes.

Read more

Phone calls 'revealed July 7 chaos' 

Mumbai

Often called India's 9/11, the Mumbai attacks in 2008 saw 10 gunmen blaze through the country's financial capital, killing more than 160 people.

Indian authorities took back control of Mumbai early on the morning on November 29 after a three-day siege across the city.

Security services and senior police in the UK have repeatedly highlighted the risk of a Mumbai-style roaming gun massacre, and earlier this year police carried out a simulated terror attack in the capital to test the emergency response to such a strike.

Read more

Five given death penalty for 2006 Mumbai train bombings 

Lee Rigby

Fusilier Lee Rigby, 25, from Middleton in Greater Manchester, was killed outside barracks in Woolwich, south east London, on May 22, 2013 by two Islamic extremists.

The murder sparked shock across the country after the father-of-one was run over with a car and then hacked to death by British Muslim converts Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale.

Following an Old Bailey trial, Adebolajo was handed a whole-life prison term and Adebowale was jailed for a minimum of 45 years.

Read more

Lee Rigby murder: The day Woolwich horror unfolded amid shocked public 

Charlie Hebdo

Paris was rocked by the Charlie Hebdo atrocity on January 7 this year, when 12 people were killed after gunmen stormed the offices of the satirical magazine.

The sense of panic heightened when there was a subsequent attack on a Kosher supermarket, and the incidents triggered worldwide outrage.

Since then there have been a number of more minor strikes or attempts in France. In one, three Americans and a Briton overpowered a heavily-armed gunman on a train from Amsterdam to Paris.

Read more

Manhunt for Paris killers underway as thousands join vigils around the world 

Sousse

Terror group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Sousse attack in June, in which 30 Britons were among 38 tourists killed.

Gunman Seifeddine Rezgui opened fire on the holidaymakers on a beach in the Tunisian holiday resort.

Foreign Minister Tobias Ellwood has described the Sousse tragedy as the ''most significant terrorist attack'' on Britons since July 7, 2005.

Read more

Sousse policeman shot dead in Tunisia beach massacre city

Life under Isis

As long as its enemies remain divided the militant group will not be defeated

Sunnis in Iraq face an even bleaker future if the militants' reign of terror is finally defeated

How militants overthrew the city of Hit in less than 24 hours

Story of a former jihadi - why I deserted the 'Islamic State' rather than take part in executions, beheadings and rape

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