US tags Iran again as top terror sponsor, global attacks fall

WASHINGTON – Iran remains the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, the Trump administration said Wednesday in a report that also highlights another drop in terrorist attacks worldwide.

The State Department’s annual survey of global terrorism, accused Iran of the intensification of many conflicts and the undermining of governments in the Middle East and beyond. Iran is a “terrorist affiliates, and proxies,” the report said, “showed an almost global terrorist reach.”

The number of worldwide terrorist attacks fell by 23 percent last year in comparison to 2016, according to the report, a change largely due to gains against the Islamic State group in Iraq. The number has also decreased in 2016 more than the previous year.

The report comes as the Trump administration is hardening its stance against Iran. President Donald Trump withdrew from the landmark nuclear agreement with Iran earlier this year and has begun with the dismantling of the sanctions relief granted under the 2015 deal.

Re-imposition of sanctions is part of a larger effort by the US to cut Iran off from the resources used for the support of proxy forces and other “malicious activity” in the region, including terrorism, according to Trump officials.

“Iran uses terrorism as a tool of the state craft, it has no reservations about the use of that instrument on every continent,” Ambassador of Nathan, the Sale, the Ministry of foreign affairs is the coordinator for counter-terrorism, told journalists Wednesday. He called Iran-linked fundraising networks in West Africa, weapons caches in South America and operational activities in Europe.

The report specifically cited the activities of the Iranian Gene. Qassem Suleimani, the powerful Revolutionary Guard corps commander, who also helped to organize the Iraqi militias against IS.

Iran used the Revolutionary Guard corps “to provide support to terrorist organizations, providing cover for its secret operations and the make of the instability in the Middle East,” the report stated.

Also in the Middle East, Iranian fighters and iranian-backed militias such as the lebanese Hezbollah, emerged from the war in Syria, with valuable battlefield experience that they try to use elsewhere, according to the report.

The 23 percent decrease in global terrorist attacks in 2017 was mainly attributed to fewer attacks in Iraq, where territory once held by the Islamic State of the group was recaptured by government forces. Deaths as a result of the terrorist attacks also decreased by 27 percent last year. According to the report IS performed only with 23 percent less terrorist attacks, and caused 53 percent less total number of deaths, in comparison with 2016.

Despite the decline in attacks, the report described the terrorist landscape as “complex” and said that the terrorist threat to the U.S. and allies around the world had “evolved.”

If it IS lost territory, the group was scattered and clandestine, are turning to the internet to inspire attacks of distant followers,” that the group “is less vulnerable to conventional military action,” the report said.

The report stated that and groups that promised allegiance to IS carried out attacks in more than 20 countries all over the world in 2017.

Also in 2017, al-Qaeda quietly expanded its membership and activities, with a global network that is forces in Syria, the Gulf, North Africa, Somalia and the Indian subcontinent, in addition to the core forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“She largely remained out of the headlines in the past few years,” Sales said Wednesday, “but we must not confuse a period of relative peace with al-Qaeda’s abandonment of the possibilities or the proposed strike us or our allies.”

The report brought a truck bombing in Mogadishu in October 2017 carried out by the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab extremist group that killed hundreds of people in “the deadliest terrorist attack in the Somali history.”

The report stated that terrorist attacks took place in 100 countries in 2017, but were geographically concentrated, with 59 percent of all attacks that take place in five countries: Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Pakistan and the Philippines.

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