WASHINGTON (AFP) -- The number of terrorist attacks worldwide has sky-rocketed over the past decade, with a third of all incidents taking place in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new study published Wednesday.
Violence carried out by a "non-state actor" rose from less than a thousand incidents in 2002 to 4,564 attacks in 2011, according to the Global Terrorism Index, produced by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace.
The other countries most affected were Pakistan, India, Thailand, the Philippines and Russia, the study said.
The number of victims claimed by the violence peaked in 2007 with 10,000 people killed, while 7,500 died in 2011.
"The current global trend of terrorism can best be described as plateauing rather than decreasing" since 2002, the report said.
In 2011, Iraq remained the country with the highest number of deaths from terrorist attacks, with 1,798 killed in 1,228 incidents, half of which took place in Baghdad. US troops pulled out of Iraq at the end of 2011.
About 1,468 people were killed last year in attacks in Pakistan and 1,293 in Afghanistan, where the bulk of a NATO-led force is due to withdraw by the end of 2014.
During the ten-year period assessed by the study, the most lethal assaults occurred in 2004.
In that year, a March 21 attack in Nepal by Maoist rebels left 518 dead and 216 wounded. In Madrid, 191 were killed and 1,800 injured in March 11 commuter train bombings. And in the Russian town of Beslan, more than 300 people were killed and 700 wounded, mostly children, after militants took hostages at a secondary school on September 1.
The study, which documented 104,000 incidents since 2002, found that terrorist attacks tended to target private citizens, government offices and police. Military installations and troops only accounted for four percent of terrorist targets, it said.