Economic cost of terrorism rose to $52.9B in 2014: Global Terrorism Index
The aftermath of last week's twin suicide blasts in Beirut which left 37 dead and 181 injured. (AFP/Joseph Eid)
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The economic cost of terrorism rose to reach an all time high of $52.9bn in 2014 globally, according to the 2015 Global Terrorism Index.
The index, developed by the Institute for Economics and Peace, also showed that deaths from terrorism rose by 80 per cent last year. Around 32,658 people were killed by terrorism in 2014 compared to 18,111 in 2013, the largest year-on-year increase till date.
Militant groups Boko Haram and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant were responsible for 51 per cent of all global fatalities in 2014, the report noted.
Nigeria-based Boko Haram, which has sworn allegiance to ISIL, was named the deadliest terrorist group. The African group reportedly caused 6,644 deaths compared to 6,073 deaths caused by ISIL. It is unclear if the figures are reflective of the latest attacks carried out by ISIL in the Middle East and Europe.
The report also showed that the number of countries suffering from the threat of terrorism has risen. Currently, countries registering over 500 deaths increased by 120 per cent from 2013.
About 78 per cent of all deaths and 57 per cent of all attacks occurred in five countries -Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria.
Iraq was named the country most affected by terrorism with 9,929 terrorist fatalities, the highest ever recorded in a single country. Meanwhile Nigeria saw the steepest increase in terrorist activity last year. Militant activity was up 300 per cent year-on-year within the African country.
The report comes as a string of gun and suicide bomb attacks in Paris have put the reach of ISIL into global focus. The attacks, which killed at least 129 people, were preceded by a bombing in Beirut and the downing of a Russian airplane over Sinai province in Egypt.
Acknowledging the acute security threat posed by militant groups, world leaders agreed to tighten border controls, share more intelligence and crack down on terrorist financing during the recent G-20 summit.
A United States-led coalition of countries is currently conducting air strikes against ISIL in their strongholds of Syria and Iraq but has barely been able to contain the militant group.
Taking advantage of the weak security forces on ground, ISIL has continued to capture Syrian cities such as Homs and Palmyra. The group also captured the strategic Iraqi town of Ramallah from government forces earlier this year.
Analysts say western countries might have to commit ground troops to effectively contain ISIL. But countries such as the US and the United Kingdom are reluctant to commit forces without support from the international community and specifically the Middle Eastern countries.
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