Islamic State

Salafi jihadist militant Islamist group

The Islamic State (IS), also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and by its Arabic acronym Da'ish or Daesh, is a transnational militant Islamist terrorist group and former unrecognized quasi-state that follows the Salafi jihadist branch of Sunni Islam. It was founded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 1999 and gained global prominence in 2014, when it captured a large amount of Iraqi territory, and took advantage of the civil war in Syria to take control of chunks of territory in Eastern Syria. By the end of 2015, it held an area estimated to contain eight to twelve million people stretching from western Iraq to eastern Syria, where it enforced its interpretation of Islamic law, administered an annual budget of more than US$1 billion and had more than 30,000 fighters under its command. By 2019 it had lost the last of its Middle Eastern territories and returned to insurgency in the regions it once controlled, operating from remote hideouts, and continuing its propaganda efforts.

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