BuzzFeed reports: Last week, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the man the group has proclaimed the head of their self-proclaimed caliphate, issued an audio recording announcing the expansion of the militant group’s control.
In the recording, released in the aftermath of rumors that he had been killed or wounded in a U.S. airstrike, Baghdadi declared “the expansion of the Islamic State to new lands, to the lands of al Haramain [meaning Saudi Arabia] and [to] Yemen, and to Egypt, Libya and Algeria.”
That announcement was the latest in a string of moves that ISIS has taken over the last year to challenge al-Qaeda for supremacy in the jihadi movement. ISIS itself was once known as al-Qaeda in Iraq before the two groups publicly severed ties earlier this year.
Now, the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) — who the United States believes to be the most dangerous of al-Qaeda’s off-shoots — is fighting back. On Friday it issued a half-hour long video denouncing Baghdadi’s announcement. [Continue reading…]