Suicide bombings increased by 94 percent between 2013 and 2014, largely due to the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, according to a new study.
Bombings increased from 305 in 2013 to 592 last year, according to the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), a think tank affiliated with Tel Aviv University, Haaretz reports.
The number of deaths increased, but not by as much. Approximately 2,200 were killed in suicide bombings in 2013; 3,400 were killed last year — a 37.5 percent increase.
INSS attributed most of the rise of ISIS and other Salafi Sunni jihadist groups which ramped up aggression against Syria, Iraq and Western interests in the middle of last year.
Iraq saw a the most dramatic increase in bombings — from 98 attacks to 271. Fifteen women conducted suicide bombings last year compared to five in 2013.
According to Haaretz, INSS drew its data from multiple sources, but remained skeptical of information coming out of Syria, where ISIS and other forces are battling president Bashar al-Assad for control.
Boko Haram, the Islamist group terrorizing Nigeria, also conducted more suicide bombings. The group conducted 32 bombings and killed 500. That is half the number of bombings that the group has carried out since adopting the tactic in 2011, Haaretz reported.
According to INSS, terrorists employ suicide bombings for two main reasons.
“Suicide bombings are not just an effective tactic for them in terms of their goal of causing death and destruction and establishing fear, but are also a commercial symbol and proof of the willingness of their activists to sacrifice themselves in the way of God,” the INSS says.