Number of terrorist attacks globally dropped in 2016: US government

WASHINGTON, July 19 (Reuters) - The number of terrorist attacks worldwide and deaths from such attacks dropped in 2016 for the second straight year, driven by decreases in Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan and Yemen, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday.

The total number of terrorist attacks in 2016 dropped 9 percent compared to 2015, while fatalities caused by the attacks fell 13 percent, the department said in a report on global terrorism.

The Sunni militant group Islamic State was the deadliest terrorist group last year, carrying out 20 percent more attacks in Iraq and causing 69 percent more deaths there compared to 2015.

Data compiled by the University of Maryland for the State Department showed there were a total of 11,072 terrorist attacks worldwide last year, resulting in more than 25,600 deaths. Of those deaths, 6,700 were of perpetrators of the attacks.

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21 PHOTOS
Islamist terrorist take over Marawi, Christians flee
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Islamist terrorist take over Marawi, Christians flee
A view of the Maute group stronghold with an ISIS flag in Marawi City in southern Philippines May 29, 2017. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Soldiers onboard military trucks ride along the main street as government troops continue their assault on insurgents from the Maute group, who have taken over large parts of Marawi City, Philippines June 2, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Smoke billowing from a burning building is seen as government troops continue their assault on insurgents from the Maute group, who have taken over large parts of Marawi City, Philippines June 2, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
A resident carries chickens and her belongings after fleeing from her home in Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao on June 3, 2017. Hundreds of Islamist gunmen rampaged through the city of 200,000, the Islamic capital of the mainly Catholic Philippines, on May 23 after government forces attempted to arrest their leader, Isnilon Hapilon. Up to 50 gunmen continued to control downtown Marawi nearly two weeks later with at least 15 hostages including a Catholic priest, with some being used as human shields, the military said. / AFP PHOTO / Noel CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A soldier walks past a graffiti as government troops continue their assault on insurgents from the Maute group, who have taken over large parts of Marawi City, Philippines June 2, 2017. The graffiti reads: "Always loyal." REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco TEMPLATE OUT
Blindfolded suspected self-styled Islamic State (IS) group members are transported in a police vehicle after being captured in a village in Marawi City on the southern island of Mindanao on June 3, 2017. Hundreds of Islamist gunmen rampaged through the city of 200,000, the Islamic capital of the mainly Catholic Philippines, on May 23 after government forces attempted to arrest their leader, Isnilon Hapilon. Up to 50 gunmen continued to control downtown Marawi nearly two weeks later with at least 15 hostages including a Catholic priest, with some being used as human shields, the military said. / AFP PHOTO / Noel CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Philippine marines patrol a deserted area on their way to assault an Islamist militants' hideout in Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao on June 3, 2017. Hundreds of Islamist gunmen rampaged through the city of 200,000, the Islamic capital of the mainly Catholic Philippines, on May 23 after government forces attempted to arrest their leader, Isnilon Hapilon. Up to 50 gunmen continued to control downtown Marawi nearly two weeks later with at least 15 hostages including a Catholic priest, with some being used as human shields, the military said. / AFP PHOTO / Noel CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A volunteer doctor feeds 2 years old Manequin Lasola who was trapped for 11 days with her father Julio Lasola at Pangarungan Village in Marawi City, on the southern island of Mindanao on June 3, 2017. Philippine troops battle Islamists in the southern city of Marawi, with nearly two weeks of clashes claiming at least 175 lives. / AFP PHOTO / NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Julio Lasola and 2 years old Manequin Lasola arrive at the Lanao Del Sur Capitol after being trapped for 11 days in at Pangarungan Village in Marawi City, on the southern island of Mindanao on June 3, 2017. Philippine troops battle Islamists in the southern city of Marawi, with nearly two weeks of clashes claiming at least 175 lives. / AFP PHOTO / NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A volunteer doctor gives the thumbs up to 2 years old Manequin Lasola who was trapped for 11 days with her father Julio Lasola at Pangarungan Village in Marawi City, on the southern island of Mindanao on June 3, 2017. Philippine troops battle Islamists in the southern city of Marawi, with nearly two weeks of clashes claiming at least 175 lives. / AFP PHOTO / NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)
A volunteer doctor tends to a boy that was trapped for 11 days with his family at Pangarungan Village in Marawi City, on the southern island of Mindanao on June 3, 2017. Philippine troops battle Islamists in the southern city of Marawi, with nearly two weeks of clashes claiming at least 175 lives. / AFP PHOTO / NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Military tanks maneouver through a village street as they advance towards a position of Islamist militants in Marawi, on the southern island of Mindanao on June 1, 2017. Philippine airstrikes aimed at Islamist militants who are holding hostages as human shields killed 11 soldiers, authorities said on June 1, as they conceded hundreds of gunmen may have escaped a blockade. / AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A boy clutches to his mother after residents where evacuated from their homes on the outskirts of Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao on May 31, 2017. Philippine troops have killed 89 Islamist militants during more than a week of urban battles but a final showdown is expected to be fierce as the gunmen protect their leaders and hold hostages, authorities said on May 31. / AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
A rescue worker (C) meets residents who were evacuated from their homes after nine days at a village on the outskirts of Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao on May 31, 2017. Philippine troops have killed 89 Islamist militants during more than a week of urban battles but a final showdown is expected to be fierce as the gunmen protect their leaders and hold hostages, authorities said on May 31. / AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Rescuers help children onto a truck after they were rescued from their homes in a village on the outskirts of Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao on May 31, 2017, as fighting between government forces and Islamist militants continues. Philippine troops have killed 89 Islamist militants during more than a week of urban battles but a final showdown is expected to be fierce as the gunmen protect their leaders and hold hostages, authorities said on May 31. / AFP PHOTO / Ted ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
MARAWI CITY, PHILIPPINES - MAY 30: Residents who survived the siege of ISIS-linked militatnts line up to receive supply and food in an evacuation center inside the city on May 30, 2017 in Marawi city, southern Philippines. Thousand of Marawi residents escaped the city in fear of ISIS-linked militants taking over the city, some have walked for hours to days through various routes without food and water. Filipino authorities announced around 2,000 people had been stranded amid street battles and air strikes while bodies of foreign Islamist militants were discovered during the ongoing battles in the southern city. President Rodrigo Duterte had declared 60 days of martial law in Mindanao on Tuesday after local terrorist groups Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf rampaged through Marawi city and said that martial law could be extended across the Philippines while thousands of residents continue to flee the crisis in Marawi, which is home to some 200,000 people. Jes Aznar/Getty Images
TOPSHOT - A Muslim policeman prays inside a building riddled with bullet holes as a mosque is reflected on a glass window during a lull in fighting in Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao on May 29, 2017. Security forces traded heavy gunfire with Islamist militants inside a southern Philippine city on May 29, as fears grew for up to 2,000 people unable to escape a week of fighting that has left women and children among the dead. / AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
MARAWI CITY, PHILIPPINES - MAY 30: Filipino soldiers engage in a firefight with ISIS-linked militants, on May 30, 2017 in Marawi city, southern Philippines. Philippine government troops are battling their way as they inch towards the city center where ISIS-linked militants have been holed for nearly a week. The fighting at Marawi city had forced around 85,000 people to seek refuge at evacuation centers in Marawi as the week long gun battles between ISIS-linked militants and security troops rose to around 100 with at least 19 civilians being killed in the fighting, according to local media. Filipino authorities announced around 2,000 people had been stranded amid street battles and air strikes while bodies of foreign Islamist militants were discovered during the ongoing battles in the southern city. President Rodrigo Duterte had declared 60 days of martial law in Mindanao on Tuesday after local terrorist groups Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf rampaged through Marawi city and said that martial law could be extended across the Philippines while thousands of residents continue to flee the crisis in Marawi, which is home to some 200,000 people. Jes Aznar/Getty Images
A woman is assisted as she attempts to identify bodies dumped off a cliff along the highway leading to Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao on May 28, 2017. Islamist militants who have gone on a rampage in a southern Philippine city have killed 19 civilians including women and children, the military said on May 28, as fighting entered the sixth day. / AFP PHOTO / Ted ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
A Philippine marine patrols a deserted street in Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao on May 30, 2017. Philippine authorities on May 30 warned Islamist militants occupying parts of a southern city to surrender or die, as attack helicopters pounded the gunmen's strongholds where up to 2,000 residents were feared trapped. / AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
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Terrorist attacks took place in 104 countries in 2016, but the majority occurred in just five countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and the Philippines. Three-quarters of all deaths from terrorist attacks took place in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria and Pakistan.

The report spoke positively of recent efforts by Sudan, which was placed on the list of U.S.-designated state sponsors of terrorism in 1993 because of its support of Palestinian and Lebanese militant groups.

"Notwithstanding this history, countering terrorism is today a national security priority for Sudan, and Sudan is a cooperative partner of the United States on counterterrorism," the report said.

Other U.S.-listed state sponsors of terrorism are Iran and Syria.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama temporarily lifted sanctions on Sudan in January for six months, suspending a trade embargo, unfreezing assets and removing financial sanctions. President Donald Trump's administration last week postponed for three months a decision on whether to permanently lift the sanctions.

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ISIS jails hidden in plain sight in Mosul
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ISIS jails hidden in plain sight in Mosul
Members of the Iraqi Army's 9th Armoured Division stand outside a compound used as a prison by Islamic State militants in the July 17 district, in western Mosul, Iraq, June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis SEARCH "KONSTANTINIDIS PRISON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A member of the Iraqi Army's 9th Armoured Division stands inside a compound used as a prison by Islamic State militants in the July 17 district, in western Mosul, Iraq, June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis SEARCH "KONSTANTINIDIS PRISON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A coffee mug is seen on a table at a compound used as a prison by Islamic State militants in the July 17 district, in western Mosul, Iraq, June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis SEARCH "KONSTANTINIDIS PRISON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A steel gate leads to a section of a compound used as prison for men inside a building abandoned by Islamic State militants in July 17 district, in western Mosul, Iraq June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis SEARCH "KONSTANTINIDIS PRISON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A member of the Iraqi Army's 9th Armoured Division searches through a desk inside a compound used as a prison by Islamic State militants in the July 17 district, in western Mosul, Iraq, June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis SEARCH "KONSTANTINIDIS PRISON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Clothing left behind by Islamic State militants is seen on the floor in a compound used as a prison by Islamic State militants in the July 17 district, in western Mosul, Iraq, June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis SEARCH "KONSTANTINIDIS PRISON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Rotten food is seen on a kitchen table inside a compound used as a prison by Islamic State militants in the July 17 district, in western Mosul, Iraq, June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis SEARCH "KONSTANTINIDIS PRISON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
The photo of an unidentified girl is seen on a desk inside a compound used as prison by Islamic State militants in the July 17 district, in western Mosul, Iraq, June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis SEARCH "KONSTANTINIDIS PRISON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Mattresses of prisoners are seen inside a compound used as a prison by Islamic State militants in the July 17 district, in western Mosul, Iraq, June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis SEARCH "KONSTANTINIDIS PRISON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Documents and envelopes are scattered inside an office, at a compound used as a prison by Islamic State militants in the July 17 district, in western Mosul, Iraq, June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis SEARCH "KONSTANTINIDIS PRISON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Damaged surveillance monitors are seen in the control room in a compound used as a prison by Islamic State militants in the July 17 district, in western Mosul, Iraq, June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis SEARCH "KONSTANTINIDIS PRISON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Materials for making self-made bombs are seen on the floor inside a compound used as a prison by Islamic State militants in the July 17 district, in western Mosul, Iraq, June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis SEARCH "KONSTANTINIDIS PRISON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
The shadow of a member of the Iraqi Army's 9th Armoured Division is seen in a room used as a cell for men, inside a compound used as a prison by Islamic State militants in the July 17 district, in western Mosul, Iraq June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis SEARCH "KONSTANTINIDIS PRISON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A member of the Iraqi Army's 9th Armoured Division holds a self-made bomb found inside a compound used as a prison by Islamic State militants in the July 17 district, in western Mosul, Iraq, June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis SEARCH "KONSTANTINIDIS PRISON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
Members of the Iraqi Army's 9th Armoured Division inspect the cables of the surveillance system inside a compound used as a prison by Islamic State militants in the July 17 district, in western Mosul, Iraq, June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis SEARCH "KONSTANTINIDIS PRISON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
A member of the Iraqi Army's 9th Armoured Division inspects a room used as a cell for women inside a compound used as a prison by Islamic State militants in the July 17 district, in western Mosul, Iraq, June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis SEARCH "KONSTANTINIDIS PRISON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.
The shadow of a member of the Iraqi Army's 9th Armoured Division is seen as he opens a steel gate to a room used as a cell for men, inside a compound used as a prison by Islamic State militants in July 17 district, in western Mosul, Iraq, June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis SEARCH "KONSTANTINIDIS PRISON" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
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State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters in June that no matter what decision is made on the Sudan sanctions, the designation of Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism will remain in place.

A June filing with the Justice Department showed that Sudan had hired law firm Squire Patton Boggs LLP at a monthly fee of $40,000 to represent Sudan's interests in Washington, including avoiding a "snap back" of U.S. sanctions.

(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Tom Brown)

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