lamic State, the Sunni militant group that surged to global infamy with a campaign of conquest and violence, is badly beaten but not gone. The US led international coalition fighting the group said Wednesday that fewer than 1,000 ISIS fighters are left in Iraq and Syria. The group burst onto the global stage in 2014 when it declared its self-proclaimed caliphate.
At its height, the jihadists ruled over millions of people controlling oil fields and vast stockpiles of arms and ammunition. Its gruesome tactics included mass murder, sexual slavery and explicit execution videos. The group plotted dozens of the attacks around the world, killing hundreds of people. A bitter two-year campaign by US led coalition forces to, quote, degrade and destroy the organization slowly took back territory in Iraq.
And in recent weeks Iraq and Syria have both declared victory over ISIS after foreign allies and local forces drove the fighters out of all the towns and villages that once made up their self-proclaimed caliphate. But western intelligence agencies warn ISIS may still be able to inspire attacks by former fighters and so-called lone wolves.
The group has reportedly made in roads in parts of Afghanistan. And the whereabouts of the group's leader remain unknown. US officials believe he may be hiding in a vast sparsely populated desert between Mosul and Rocca and have offered a $25 million bounty for information that would help locate him.