The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has declared the establishment of an Islamic state in the areas it controls and demanded allegiance from other Muslim groups worldwide.
The Sunni militant group proclaimed its leader, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, as “caliph” – the head of the state, and said the “caliphate” stretched from Aleppo in Syria to Diyala in Iraq.
ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al Adnani said in an audio recording, on the first day of Ramadan: “He is the imam and khalifah (caliph) for the Muslims everywhere.
“His [al Baghdadi’s] authority has expanded over wide areas in Iraq and Sham [Levant]. The land now under his leadership spreads from Aleppo to Diyala.”
He added: “The legality of all emirates, groups, states and organisations becomes null by the expansion of the caliph’s authority and the arrival of its troops to their areas.
“Listen to your caliph and obey him. Support your state, which grows every day.”
ISIS fighters overran the Iraqi city of Mosul last month in lightning action and have been advancing towards Baghdad.
In Syria, they have captured territory in the north and east, along the frontier with Iraq.
In Iraq, they overran the Iraqi city of Mosul last month in swift action and have advanced towards Baghdad.
ISIS’ declaration comes as the Iraqi government is battling to wrest back some of the territory it has lost to the jihadist group in recent weeks.
On Sunday, Iraqi helicopter gunships struck suspected insurgent positions for a second consecutive day in the northern city of Tikrit, the birthplace of Saddam Hussein around 80 miles north of Baghdad…. see more