The State Department says there was a 13% decrease in the number of global terrorist attacks between 2014 and 2015—the first such decline since 2012. There were 11,774 attacks that resulted in 28,328 deaths in 2015, compared with 13,463 attacks in 2014 that killed 32,727 people, according to an annual survey of worldwide terrorism, per the AP. Of those killed in 2015, 19 were private American citizens, compared with 24 in 2014. Attacks and deaths declined in Iraq, Pakistan, and Nigeria, but they increased in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, the Philippines, Syria, and Turkey. Iran remained the "foremost state sponsor of terrorism in 2015" through its support of Lebanon's Hezbollah, the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and anti-Israel groups such as Hamas, the report says.
The Islamic State remained the greatest worldwide terrorist threat with a "formidable force" of fighters in Iraq and Syria. Al-Qaeda and affiliates also remained active in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and parts of West Africa and North Africa, where it continued to stage mass casualty strikes, including on hotels in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Tunisia, as well as the bombing of a Russian passenger jet, the report finds. In East Africa, the report notes that Somali group al-Shabab remained a serious threat in 2015 not only in Somalia but in neighboring Kenya. Along with Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, the Sinai, Somalia, and Syria, the report designated Libya, the southern Philippines, the Sahara, Yemen, and portions of Colombia and Venezuela as "terrorist safe havens" where groups are able to operate with relative ease due to poor or inadequate governance. (Read more terrorism stories.)