WASHINGTON — The United States said Friday that international terrorism fell in 1992 to its lowest level since 1975, signaling what appears to be a steady and significant trend.
The State Department's annual report on what it defines as patterns of global terrorism recorded 361 incidents in 1992 compared with 567 the previous year, but the 1991 figure was viewed as an aberrational high because of the Persian Gulf War.
"It may be a significant trend. There does appear to have been a steady decline in the numbers," a senior State Department official told reporters at a briefing.
He attributed the decline to increasing cooperation among governments in prosecuting and refusing to make deals with terrorists as well as the decline in sanctuaries for terrorists in Eastern Europe because of the end of communism.
U.S. casualties from acts of terrorism were the lowest ever. Two Americans were killed and one was wounded in 1992 compared to seven dead and 14 wounded the previous year.
The report does not cover the bombing of the World Trade Center, which occurred Feb. 26, or the killing of two CIA employees outside CIA headquarters earlier this year.
So while optimistic about progress in curbing terrorism, the report stresses the need for continued vigilance.
The senior official said one area of potential concern is terrorism spurred by ethnic and religious tensions in the former Yugoslav republics and former Soviet Union.