Washington says Al Qaeda remains the top terrorist threat to the West, although the number of global attacks has fallen.
A report from the US State Department says the death toll from worldwide terrorism last year fell from 22,500 in 2007 to 15,700. However, American officials are warning that there are new concerns. Ronald Schlicher, Counterterrorism Coordinator at the US State Department, said: “An emerging hotspot over the last year is Somalia. We find that to be a significant challenge. The group al Shabab is a terrorist group with ties to al Qaeda. And as you know it has overrun the southern and central parts of the countries. Meanwhile, the Iranian Foreign Minister has condemned Washington’s list of countries it considers to be state sponsors of terrorism. In comments during a visit to Cuba, Manuchehr Mottaki said: “The United States, for all that it has done in the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo jails, doesn’t have the authority nor the capacity to give opinions nor accusations about other countries.” Observers say there is speculation that the US might consider dropping Cuba from its terrorism list, as part of efforts to try to end years of animosity.