The number of terrorist attacks documented by U.S. intelligence agencies jumped sharply in 2005, crossing the 10,000 mark for the first time, according to U.S. counterterrorism officials and documents obtained by Knight Ridder Newspapers.
Officials caution that much of the increase, due to be reported publicly next week, stems from a change last year in how terror attacks are counted, coupled with a more aggressive effort to tally such violence worldwide.
But the documents say, and officials confirm, that some of the rise is traceable to the war in Iraq, where foreign terrorists, a homegrown insurgency and sectarian strife have all contributed to political bloodshed.
More than half the fatalities from terrorism worldwide last year occurred in Iraq, said a counterterrorism official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the data haven't been made public. Roughly 85 percent of the U.S. citizens who died from terrorism during the year died in Iraq.
The figures cover only noncombatants and thus don't include combat deaths of U.S., Iraqi and other coalition soldiers.
"There's no question that the level of terrorist attacks in Iraq was up substantially," said the official, who's familiar with the methods used by the National Counterterrorism Center to track terrorist trends. The center is part of the U.S. intelligence community.
Friday, April 21, 2006
In Upside-Down Land, the Land of the Faith-Based Community, backwards is also forwards.