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ISIS Picture Gallery
ISIS - The group originated in 1999 as Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad. AQI -led forces as well as their Iraqi allies following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In around 2008 its violent approaches resulted in a backlash against it and a short-term decline, although at its peak, the ISI enjoyed an important existence in Al Anbar, Nineveh, Kirkuk and other places.
In April 2013, the group switched its name to the Levant and the Islamic State of Iraq. It grew under the direction of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, acquiring support in Iraq as an effect of perceived political and economic discrimination against Iraqi Sunnis. In Iraq, it'd at least 4,000 combatants in its positions in June 2014, and the CIA estimated in September 2014 that it'd 20,000-31,500 combatants in Syria and Iraq. It'd close connections to al Qaeda until February 2014 when, after an eight-month power battle, al Qaeda cut all ties with the group, allegedly for its violence and "ill-famed intractability".
The first purpose of the group was to create an Islamic country in the Sunni-majority areas of Iraq. Following its participation in the Syrian Civil War, this enlarged to include commanding Sunni-majority regions of Syria. It proclaimed a world-wide caliphate on 29 June 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi--understood as Amir al-Mu'minin, Caliph Ibrahim by his patrons --was identified as its caliph, as well as the group was renamed the Islamic State. In its self-proclaimed standing as a caliphate, it maintains spiritual power over all Muslims globally, and plans to bring most Muslim-inhabited areas of the planet under its political management, beginning with the Levant area, which about covers Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus, and area of southern Turkey.