Of 452 Suicide Attacks Worldwide Last Year, How Many Were Carried Out by Muslims?

January 12, 2016 Updated: January 12, 2016
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A new study says that 450 of the 452 suicide attacks committed around the world last year were carried out by Muslims.

The study was done by Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.

One of the other two attacks may also have been carried out by a Muslim; police were still investigating at the time of publication. 

The Times of Israel called the count “the most dramatic statistic.”

The other attack was carried out by the Kurdish underground.

A Pakistani Shiite Muslim mourns over the death of his family member at the site of a suicide bombing in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Friday, Jan. 9, 2015. The Pakistani police said a bomber blew himself up outside a mosque in Rawalpindi, next to the capital of Islamabad, killing several people. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
A Pakistani Shiite Muslim mourns over the death of his family member at the site of a suicide bombing in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on Jan. 9, 2015. The Pakistani police said a bomber blew himself up outside a mosque in Rawalpindi, next to the capital of Islamabad, killing several people. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

The research team only included attacks that were verified by at least two sources.

“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,” said Yoram Schweitzer, the head of the Program on Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict at the institute. 

“Then we come to another issue. Which terror attacks we define as suicide attacks and which we do not. My own definition includes all terror attacks that were perpetrated by a suicide bomber who carried explosive material on his person or on a mobile platform. They are planted inside or sent to the targets, and their certain deaths define them as suicides. In other words, the definition does not include ‘sacrifice’ attacks of various kinds, or people wielding knives or scissors.”

Although the team counted fewer attacks than 2014—452 versus 592—the human toll remained largely the same, with 4,370 people killed by the attacks in 2015 and 4,400 killed the year prior.