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FILE PHOTO: A French soldier patrols near the Eiffel Tower as part of the "Sentinelle" security plan in Paris, France, May 3, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

(reuters_tickers)

By Mark Hanrahan and Jessica Wang

LONDON (Reuters) - The number of terrorist attacks resulting in fatalities in western Europe increased in 2016, despite an overall drop in the number of incidents taking place, according to data released by the Global Terrorism Database.

The data shows that there were 30 such attacks resulting in fatalities in western Europe in 2016 and 23 in 2015. This compares with two attacks across the region resulting in fatalities in 2014 and five in 2013.

View graphic here: http://tmsnrt.rs/2tI2d9o

In addition, terrorist attacks have become more deadly, with 26.5 people on average being killed in 2015 and 2016, up from an average of four a year in the preceding three years.

The deadliest incident recorded in western Europe was the series of coordinated attacks on Paris in November 2015 that resulted in the deaths of 130 people and was claimed by Islamic State.

Experts said ISIS, responsible for seven of the 10 deadliest attacks since 2012, was increasingly encouraging the use of knives and vehicles over firearms and explosives by their followers.

"It's very different to the al Qaeda threat, which was obsessed with mass casualties, bringing down airliners", Dr. Sajjan Gohel, International Security Director with the Asia-Pacific Foundation think tank told Reuters.

"What ISIS is trying to do is have a greater volume of attacks, but make it more cost effective and simpler."

(Reporting by Mark Hanrahan and Jessica Wang; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Reuters