The Islamic State (IS) is a transnational Sunni Islamist insurgent and terrorist group with more than 10,000 fighters across Iraq and Syria. Its forerunner is Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQ-I), which was formed in 2004 to combat the U.S. military presence in Iraq. In April 2013, group leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi announced his intent to merge his forces in Iraq and Syria with those of the Syria-based Jabhat al Nusra, under the name the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS). (Al Baghdadi reportedly was detained by U.S. forces in Iraq from 2005 to 2009). Jabhat al Nusra and Al Qaeda leaders rejected the merger, underscoring growing tensions among Sunni extremists in the region. In June 2014 ISIL declared the establishment of an Islamic caliphate stretching from Aleppo province in Syria to Diyalah province in Iraq and changed its name to the Islamic State.
Date of Report: September 11, 2014
Number of Pages: 2
Order Number: IF00050
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