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The ISIS Conquest of Parts of Iraq and Syria

ISIS military parade in al-Raqqa, Syria, using US vehicles and weaponry seized from the Iraqi army
ISIS military parade in al-Raqqa, Syria, using US vehicles and weaponry seized from the Iraqi army

On 8 June 2006, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al-Qaeda’s fighters in Iraq, was killed by a US airstrike in northern Baghdad. Al-Zarqawi’s death left a major al-Qaeda position vacant, and the names of several possible successors were floated.

In October 2006, al-Qaeda’s main leadership chose Abu Ayub al-Masri (also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajir) to succeed al-Zarqawi, but that choice faced opposition from the Shura Council of Iraq’s jihadists, which held a meeting shortly afterwards to discuss the decision. After a few months of persistent objection to the selection of al-Masri, the latter had eventually to cede power to Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, who managed to bring all the Islamic fundamental groups spreading through Iraq into one organization, called, at the time, the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI).

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