Terrorism deaths dropped in 2015, but terror groups have spread even further across the globe

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In 2015, worldwide deaths from terrorism fell 10% from the previous year, despite an increase in the impact of terrorism around the globe, according to the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) released by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).

The 29,376 terrorism-related deaths recorded in 2015 were a 10% decrease over 2014, marking the end of a four-year upward trend.

But terrorism-related violence spread, with 23 countries having their highest number of deaths from terrorism last year, over the previous high of 17 registered in 2014.

Among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, deaths from terrorism increased 650%, with 21 of 34 member-states recording at least one terrorist attack. The majority of terrorism deaths among OECD countries took place in Turkey and France.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Syria accounted for 72% of all terrorism deaths in 2015. The Islamic State group (ISIS), Boko Haram, the Taliban, and Al Qaeda — operating within those five countries — were responsible for 74% of all terrorism-related deaths.

The spread of terrorism's influence was driven by the expanded activities of ISIS and Boko Haram, which has pledged allegiance to ISIS.

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ISIS, with attacks in 252 cities resulting in 6,141 deaths, passed Boko Haram as the most lethal terrorist group last year.

ISIS increased its activity from 13 countries in 2014 to 28 last year, many of which were in Europe. Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, and Turkey all saw the most deaths from terrorism in a year since 2000, and more than half the 577 deaths were related to ISIS, which orchestrated deadly attacks in Paris, Brussels, and Ankara.

Boko Haram, a terrorist group that originated in Nigeria, spread into Niger, Cameroon, and Chad, driving the number of people killed in those countries up by 157%.

Both groups seemed to welcome the recent election of Donald Trump as US president.

Abu Omar Khorasani, a top ISIS leader in Afghanistan, called the president-elect "a complete maniac," saying Trump's "utter hate towards Muslims will make our job much easier because we can recruit thousands."

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau exhorted followers to "not be overwhelmed by people like Donald Trump and the global coalition fighting our brethren in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and everywhere."

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Girls released from Boko Haram reunited with families
ABUJA, NIGERIA - OCTOBER 16: Nigerian girls kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram, meet with their families after they were released, during a ceremony at a Church in Abuja, Nigeria on October 16, 2016. (Photo by Sodiq Adelakun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ABUJA, NIGERIA - OCTOBER 16: Nigerian girls kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram, meet with their families after they were released, during a ceremony at a Church in Abuja, Nigeria on October 16, 2016. (Photo by Sodiq Adelakun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ABUJA, NIGERIA - OCTOBER 16: Nigerian girls kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram, meet with their families after they were released, during a ceremony at a Church in Abuja, Nigeria on October 16, 2016. (Photo by Sodiq Adelakun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ABUJA, NIGERIA - OCTOBER 16: Nigerian girls kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram, meet with their families after they were released, during a ceremony at a Church in Abuja, Nigeria on October 16, 2016. (Photo by Sodiq Adelakun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ABUJA, NIGERIA - OCTOBER 16: Nigerian girls kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram, meet with their families after they were released, during a ceremony at a Church in Abuja, Nigeria on October 16, 2016. (Photo by Sodiq Adelakun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Abana Muta, left, and Hawa Abana, right, look at photos of the freed twenty-one Chibok schoolgirls in newspaper including their daughter Blessing Abana, in Nasarawa Nigeria, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. Conflicting reports emerged Friday about whether the first negotiated release of some Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria in 2014 involved a ransom payment, a prisoner swap for Islamic extremist commanders, or both. ( AP Photo/Gbemiga Olamikan)
Abana Muta, left, and Hawa Abana, right, parents of Blessing Abana, one among of the freed twenty-one Chibok schoolgirls smiles during an interview in Nasarawa, Nigeria, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. Conflicting reports emerged Friday about whether the first negotiated release of some Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria in 2014 involved a ransom payment, a prisoner swap for Islamic extremist commanders, or both. ( AP Photo/Gbemiga Olamikan)
FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, file photo released by the Nigeria State House, Chibok school girls recently freed from Boko Haram captivity are seen during a meeting with Nigeria's Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, in Abuja, Nigeria. Conflicting reports are emerging Friday about whether the first negotiated release of Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria in 2014, involved a ransom payment, a prisoner swap for Islamic extremist commanders or both. (Sunday Aghaeze/Nigeria State House via AP, FILE)
Some of the 21 freed Chibok girls are received at the Nigerian Vice President office in Abuja on October 13, 2016. Jihadist group Boko Haram has freed 21 of the more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped more than two years ago, raising hopes for the release of the others, officials said Thursday. Local sources said their release was part of a prisoner swap with the Nigerian government, but the authorities denied doing a deal with Boko Haram. / AFP / PHILIP OJISUA (Photo credit should read PHILIP OJISUA/AFP/Getty Images)
Some of the 21 freed Chibok girls are received at the Nigerian Vice President office in Abuja on October 13, 2016. Jihadist group Boko Haram has freed 21 of the more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped more than two years ago, raising hopes for the release of the others, officials said Thursday. Local sources said their release was part of a prisoner swap with the Nigerian government, but the authorities denied doing a deal with Boko Haram. / AFP / PHILIP OJISUA (Photo credit should read PHILIP OJISUA/AFP/Getty Images)
One of the 21 freed Chibok girls cries while holding her baby as Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo looks on at his office in Abuja on October 13, 2016. Jihadist group Boko Haram has freed 21 of the more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped more than two years ago, raising hopes for the release of the others, officials said Thursday. Local sources said their release was part of a prisoner swap with the Nigerian government, but the authorities denied doing a deal with Boko Haram. / AFP / PHILIP OJISUA (Photo credit should read PHILIP OJISUA/AFP/Getty Images)
One of the 21 freed Chibok girls wipes away her tears as Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo tries to comforts her at his office in Abuja on October 13, 2016. Jihadist group Boko Haram has freed 21 of the more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped more than two years ago, raising hopes for the release of the others, officials said Thursday. Local sources said their release was part of a prisoner swap with the Nigerian government, but the authorities denied doing a deal with Boko Haram. / AFP / PHILIP OJISUA (Photo credit should read PHILIP OJISUA/AFP/Getty Images)
Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (R) looks on while his wife Dolapo (C) comforts one of the 21 freed Chibok girls freed today from Boko Haram, at his office in Abuja on October 13, 2016. Jihadist group Boko Haram has freed 21 of the more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped more than two years ago, raising hopes for the release of the others, officials said Thursday. Local sources said their release was part of a prisoner swap with the Nigerian government, but the authorities denied doing a deal with Boko Haram. / AFP / PHILIP OJISUA (Photo credit should read PHILIP OJISUA/AFP/Getty Images)
ABUJA, NIGERIA - OCTOBER 13 : Nigeria's Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (L) welcomes some of the freed Chibok school girls at the state House in Abuja, Nigeria on October 13, 2016. Twenty-one of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram more than two years ago were freed on October 13, 2016. (Photo by Pool / Nigeria State House/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ABUJA, NIGERIA - OCTOBER 13 : Nigeria's Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (not seen) and Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed (not seen) welcome some of the freed Chibok school girls at the state House in Abuja, Nigeria on October 13, 2016. Twenty-one of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram more than two years ago were freed on October 13, 2016. (Photo by Pool / Nigeria State House/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ABUJA, NIGERIA - OCTOBER 13 : Nigeria's Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (not seen) and Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed (not seen) welcome some of the freed Chibok school girls at the state House in Abuja, Nigeria on October 13, 2016. Twenty-one of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram more than two years ago were freed on October 13, 2016. (Photo by Pool / Nigeria State House/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ABUJA, NIGERIA - OCTOBER 13 : Nigeria's Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (L) welcomes some of the freed Chibok school girls at the state House in Abuja, Nigeria on October 13, 2016. Twenty-one of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram more than two years ago were freed on October 13, 2016. (Photo by Pool / Nigeria State House/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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Boko Haram's seven-year conflict against the Nigerian state has taken more than 20,000 lives.

"We remain steadfast on our faith and we will not stop," Shekau said in the hour-long message. "To us, the war has just begun."

"While on the one hand the reduction in deaths is positive, the continued intensification of terrorism in some countries and its spread to new ones is a cause for serious concern and underscores the fluid nature of modern terrorist activity," Steve Killelea, executive chairman of IEP, said in a release.

The GTI report found issues like youth unemployment, accessibility of weapons, and lack of trust in electoral processes as some of the "most statistically significant factors correlating with terrorism" in OECD countries, according to a release.

In developing countries, the history of conflict, corruption levels, and inequality correlated most significantly to terrorism.

Overall, the cost of terrorism rose to $89.6 billion in 2015, with Iraq suffering the highest economic impact, equal to 17% of its GDP.

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