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2016 was the deadliest year on record for suicide attacks, analysts say

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Suicide attacks killed more people in 2016 than any other year on record: 5,650 people worldwide, top analysts have revealed.

In all, 800 perpetrators carried out 469 attacks in 28 countries, according to the annual report by the Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict Research Center at the Institute for National Security (INSS).

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The biggest culprit? The Islamic State. The terror network carried out some 70 percent of last year's suicide attacks.  

The study found the number of bombings in the Middle East soared by 45 percent, but there was a small decline in Africa and East Asia.

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Most of the attacks unfolded in Iraq and Syria. While ISIS has claimed to be responsible for more than 1,000 suicide attacks, the report refers only to incidents that at least two sources could verify. That left out many of ISIS' claims.

A steep rise in suicide bombings unfolded in Turkey: 21 in 2016 compared to five in 2015. Analysts note Turkey's involvement in both the fight against ISIS in Syria and a long-standing battle against Kurdish rebels.

The study also found nearly 10 percent of the attacks -- 44 out of 469 -- were carried out by women, another increase from 2015. An estimated 77 of the attackers were women.

Worldwide, terror groups are becoming more capable of carrying out major attacks, according to Yoram Schweitzer, who led the research. “They are getting more and more professional, learning from their mistakes.”

The researchers said many ISIS-related groups have adopted the mentality of “Istishiaad,” an Arabic word meaning “self-sacrifice in God’s path.” That, coupled with territorial losses and global anti-terror efforts, has made it more likely ISIS and its partners could try to ramp up the size and scale of their bombings.

“It appears that suicide terrorism will be a key tool for the Islamic State in consolidating its image as unconquerable, creating deterrence against its enemies, and taking revenge for the international activity against it. We might see a pattern when they lose their grounds in the Middle East, they will try to carry out suicide bombing in other parts of the world,” Schweitzer explained.