WASHINGTON, May 1 (JTA) — Palestinian attacks against Israelis accounted for the second deadliest spate of international terrorism in 1996, the State Department reported in its annual report, “Patterns of Global Terrorism.” Hamas and Islamic Jihad launched fewer, but more deadly attacks in 1996 than in the previous year, including a string of four suicide bombings, according to the report, which was issued this week. Only terrorism in Sri Lanka accounted for more deaths in 1996. According to the State Department, the number of international terrorist acts in 1996 fell to a 25-year low. There were 296 acts last year, compared to 665 in 1986, which was the highest rate in the 25 years the State Department has been keeping track, Philip Wilcox, U.S. counterterrorism coordinator, told reporters. At the same time, the number of casualties rose to 311 last year, compared to 177 in 1995. Palestinian terror groups continue to get their support from Iran, Wilcox said. Iran has “worked very hard to undermine the Middle East peace process by support for the Hezbollah, the Hamas, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” he said, accusing Iran of being “a flagrant violator of international norms.” Because of this support and other terrorist activities, the report continues to list Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism. The report’s findings mandate a ban in U.S. assistance to the seven state sponsors of terrorism. The list also includes Syria, Libya, Iraq, Sudan, Cuba, and North Korea. In addition to being banned from non-humanitarian aid, the countries cannot import advanced U.S. technology or machinery that could have a military use.
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