Militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, who have taken over large parts of northwestern Iraq have vowed to liberate the Palestinian people from Israeli control.
The militants make the pledge in a 15-minute video released online and titled "The End of Sykes-Picot," a reference to a 1916 secret agreement between France and Britain that split up the Ottoman Empire after World War I and created the modern borders of Iraq and Syria. The video presents a bearded fighter with an AK-47 on his back talking about a newly declared Islamic Caliphate, which extends from Aleppo in northwestern Syria to Diyala province in northeastern Iraq, on the Iranian border.
"We will free Palestine," an ISIS militant states toward the end of the video, after claiming, "We are not here to replace an Arab cahoot with a western cahoot. Rather our jihad is more lofty and higher. We are fighting to make the word of Allah the highest."
He is also seen showing abandoned Iraqi army badges and claiming that they were left behind by Iraqi soldiers who “ran away” like “cowards.”
ISIS militants portray their mission as advancing the cause of Sunni Muslims through a harsh and dogmatic interpretation of Islam. Palestinian Muslims are predominantly Sunni.
“America spends upto.. I read in the news… $20 billion, but now they are bankrupt. They cannot enter back into Iraq, they lost Afghanistan,” adding: "Look how much America spends to fight Islam, and it ends up just being in our pockets."
The video also shows men incarcerated in a cell, who the man in the video claims were patrolling the border.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ISIS chief who is now the self-proclaimed "Caliph Ibrahim," announced Sunday that his group had achieved its goal of establishing a caliphate and called on Muslims, and all jihadi groups, including al-Qaida, to swear allegiance to ISIS.
An analyst reportedly said that the declaration of a caliphate by ISIS now poses a huge challenge to al-Qaida.
“Put simply, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has declared war on al-Qaeda,” Charles Lister, of the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar, reportedly said, according to The Guardian.
“While it is now inevitable that members and prominent supporters of al-Qaeda and its affiliates will rapidly move to denounce Baghdadi and this announcement, it is the long-term implications that may prove more significant. Taken globally, the younger generation of the jihadist community is becoming more supportive of Isis, largely out of fealty to its slick and proven capacity for attaining rapid results through brutality.”
View the full video here.