Despite international attempts to rein in terror, jihadists conducted 664 attacks that killed 5,042 people in 14 countries. If that wasn’t shocking enough, they did so in just one month’s time, a new report by the BBC World Service and King’s College London found.
Analyzing data from November 2014, the groups discovered that Islamic extremism is “stronger than ever.”
The Islamic State was the most deadly group, killing more than 2,000 people, followed by Boko Haram, the Taliban, AQAP, and Al Shabaab. Roughly 80 percent of the killings were done in just four countries—Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Nigeria. On the whole, most of the casualties were civilians, although this varied by geographic location.
Civilians bore the brunt of the attacks with a total of 2,079 killed, followed by 1,723 military personnel.
But the proportions varied significantly between countries. In Nigeria, almost 700 civilians were killed, at least 57 of them children, whereas just 28 deaths were from the military.
In contrast, in Syria and Afghanistan, more than twice as many military personnel died as civilians.
Of the 146 police officers who died, 95 were in Afghanistan. Politicians and other officials were also targets in Afghanistan, and in Somalia, where 22 were killed.
Jihadists themselves were also killed in large numbers: 935 died in clashes or by blowing themselves up.
“Less than four years ago, jihadism – then predominantly in the form of al Qaeda – was widely believed to be dead or dying,” said Peter Neumann, director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College. “Yet, as a result of opportunities created by the Arab Spring and the sense of momentum and excitement generated by groups like the Islamic State, jihadists now seem to be stronger and more active than ever.”
He continued: “This shows that jihadism is a global movement, that global movements don’t just disappear, and that ideas and ideologies can’t be eliminated through drone strikes – however effective those tactics may have been in decimating al Qaeda’s leadership.”
Based on the global snapshot the groups produced, Neumann said it’s evident the Islamic State “has rivaled – if not replaced – al Qaeda as the leader of global jihadism.”