A new study by Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University found that of the 452 suicide attacks it tallied last year, 450 were carried out by Muslims.
The Times of Israel reported that one of the remaining two attacks was carried out by the Kurdish underground. The other was perpetrated by a woman supporter of a leftist group in Turkey.
Even the attack in Turkey initially attributed to a “leftist group” may actually also have been carried out by a Muslim — which would mean 451 of the 452 attacks were perpetrated by Muslim extremists. According to media reports, police were investigating if the perpetrator was a Russian woman “radicalized by Wahhabi ideology.”
The research team included in its list only attacks it verified by two sources as being a suicide attack.
Yoram Schweitzer, who directs the Program on Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies, told the Times of Israel, “We do not count every claim of a suicide attack. In other words, it’s not enough if Islamic State claims a certain number of suicide attacks.”
“Quite a few groups like to claim that they carried out suicide attacks to make themselves look more important and powerful. We always rely on at least two sources to determine that a suicide attack really did take place,” Schweitzer explained.
“Even then, every determination we make is always qualified because we can never be exact about the percentages, and certainly not in places like Syria,” the researcher added.
The team defined suicide attacks as those which involved suicide bombers equipped with explosives.
They also did not count every suicide bomber as a distinct attack. For example, the Paris attacks were counted as a single event, even though there were seven assailants.
Schweitzer explains how 2015 had far fewer attacks than in 2014, although the number of fatalities weren’t too far apart — 4,370 people were killed in 2015 compared to 4,400 people the year before.
He concludes, “to put it another way, the terror attacks are more deadly.”
Schweitzer elaborates: “As far as the number of suicide attackers, there were roughly 735 in 2015 as compared with 937 the previous year. As regards the ratio of suicide attackers to terror attacks, there were almost two suicide attackers per terror attack in 2014, and the statistic for 2015 is not too far from that either.”