US report: Terrorism at 35-year low
The number of terrorist attacks worldwide has dropped to its lowest level since 1969, according to a U.S. State Department report.
But the threat remains of critical international concern said the U.S. State Department in its annual Patterns of Global Terrorism report released on Thursday.
While the number of attacks dropped by only eight from 2002, that represents a 45% decrease from the 346 strikes recorded in 2001, including the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington, the report said.
The number of fatalities fell by nearly 58%, from 725, and the number of injuries declined by nearly 21%, from 2013, according to the report.
But the Bush administration has continued to drive home the threat of international terrorism and pushed for greater surveillance and security powers.
The United States on Thursday issued a new global terrorism alert warning U.S. citizens of an increased threat in attacks and violent anti-American demonstrations.
At the same time, the State Department also renewed a regional terrorism advisory for the Middle East and North Africa, citing similar concerns that extend to the Red Sea, Gulf and Arabian peninsula.
U.S. interests were targeted by "terrorists" 82 times in 2003, five more times than in 2002, but a 62% decrease from the 219 attacks in 2001, it said.
Regionally, Asia was the site of the most attacks and the highest casualty count in 2003, with 70 attacks that killed 159 people and wounded 951 being recorded for the year, it said.
Latin America and the Middle East followed, with 53 and 37 attacks, respectively, but the strikes in the Middle East were far deadlier, with 142 people killed there last year, according to the report.
Only three people were killed in Latin American terrorist attacks in 2003, it said.
Despite the statistical drops, the report warned that unless all nations continue to improve cooperation and build anti-terror capacity, the numbers are likely to rise again in coming years.
"The fight will be of uncertain duration, but additional deadly attacks are certain," said Cofer Black, the State Department's coordinator for counter-terrorism.