BAGHDAD (AP) — An extremist group’s declaration of an Islamic state in territory it has seized in Iraq and Syria poses a threat to the entire region, Iraq’s prime minister said Wednesday, warning that “no one in Iraq or any neighboring country will be safe from these plans.”
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant announced this week that it has unilaterally established a caliphate in the areas under its control. It declared the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of its new self-styled state governed by Shariah law and demanded that all Muslims pledge allegiance to him.
In his weekly address, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said the militant group’s announcement “is a message to all the states in the region that you are inside the red circle now.”
The Sunni extremist group has overrun huge swaths of northern and western Iraq in recent weeks, linking up with territory already under its control in neighboring Syria.