The Al Qaeda offshoot that has seized territory in Iraq and Syria has declared itself an Islamic “Caliphate” and called on factions worldwide to pledge their allegiance, Reuters reported, citing a statement posted on Islamist websites and Twitter on Sunday.
The group, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and also known as ISIS, has renamed itself “Islamic State” and proclaimed its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as “Caliph” – the head of the state, the report said.
The Sunni Muslim militant group seeks to re-create a medieval-style caliphate erasing borders from the Mediterranean to the Gulf.
“It is incumbent upon all Muslims to pledge allegiance to (him) and support him (al-Baghdadi)… The legality of all emirates, groups, states, and organizations, becomes null by the expansion of the khalifah’s authority and arrival of its troops to their areas,” the group was quoted as saying in its statement.
Fighters from the group overran the Iraqi city of Mosul last month in a lightning action and have advanced towards Baghdad. In Syria they have captured territory in the north and east, along the frontier with Iraq.
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