Islamic State is taking over Al-Qaeda Areas of Operation

“The Islamic State (IS) group has forged links with militants from Nigeria to Pakistan, embracing regional franchises that have pledged allegiance to the group. The latest group to sign up is based in the republics of Russia’s North Caucasus, led by a Dagestan jihadist commander who defected to IS from the al-Qaeda-aligned rebel movement known as the Caucasus Emirate. The first new branches beyond the group’s strongholds in Syria and Iraq were announced by IS leader Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi in November last year when he accepted pledges of allegiance from jihadists in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia.”

“Some of those pledges came from existing groups which went on to re-brand themselves as new IS “provinces”, or wilayat, such as the Egyptian Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and Algeria’s Jund al-Khilafah. The most active branches have been those in Libya and Egypt, which have tapped into the IS media network to publish a steady flow of propaganda, highlighting attacks and publicising their attempts at governance.”

“Others have had a low profile. For example, the IS franchises in Algeria and Saudi Arabia have claimed only a few isolated attacks and there is no sign that the group has a strong presence there. But the impact of the IS expansion has nevertheless been felt by its jihadist rivals in al-Qaeda, which has branches in many of the areas IS has moved into, and in-fighting has broken out in several areas.” (Coordination Center)


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