The Islamic State has gone from what President Barack Obama described last year as a junior-varsity team to a full-blown international terrorist network with a large base of operations straddled across Iraq and Syria.
Most recently, on Friday, the group carried out six coordinated attacks around Paris, killing 129 people and injuring hundreds more.
Mainly composed of Sunni Arabs, ISIS has made enemies of many regional nations, including Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Russia, as well as Western nations, including the U.S. and France, in pursuit of establishing a Medieval-style caliphate ruled by Sharia Law.
Gathered below is a list of eight targets that ISIS, and those who've pledged allegiance to it, has attacked or threatened to attack in recent months:
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1. Christians and ethnic minorities
— Seeking to impose its own interpretation of Sharia law on groups, Islamic State militants have committed many atrocities against Christians in Iraq, Syria, and Libya, as well as Yazidis in the Nineveh Province of Iraq.
2. Western journalists and humanitarians
— In 2014, American journalist James Foley, Israeli-American journalist Steven Sotloff, British aid worker David Haines, French tour guide Hervé Gourdel, British aid worker Alan Henning, American aid worker Peter Kassig and other Westerners were beheaded in a series of gruesome videos. The executioner in many of the videos, "Jihadi John," was later identified as British-Arab man Mohammed Emwazi. He was reportedly killed in a drone strike this month in Syria.
3. West Africa
— Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, responsible for mass killings, kidnappings, and displacement of people in Nigeria, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in March of this year. ISIS promptly accepted the pledge, and declared Boko Haram's territory part of its global caliphate.
— The Islamic State continues to claim credit for downing a Russian airliner flying over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula en route to Saint Petersburg on October 31. The attack, which American, European, Russian, and Egyptian officials say could have been staged by ISIS, killed all 224 people on board. On Wednesday, the Islamic State claimed to have used an explosive device smuggled inside of a soda can to down the plane. Russian President Vladimir Putin allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier in the month, declaring ISIS an enemy.
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5. Beirut, Lebanon
— Twin suicide bombings outside a mosque and near a bakery killed at least 43 people and wounded more than 200 on Nov. 12 in a suburb controlled by the militant Shiite Hezbollah group, which is allied with al-Assad. An apparent third would-be suicide bomber was also found dead, likely caught in the second bomber's blast radius, CBS News reported
6. Paris, France
— On Friday, the national stadium, a crowded concert hall, and several restaurants were targeted in terror attacks carried out with guns and explosives in and around Paris. Three teams of terrorists targeted six sites, killing 129 and injuring hundreds. Several of the terrorists died by suicide bombing, while others — such as suspected ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud — were killed in subsequent police raids. Suspect Salah Abdeslam is believed to be on the lam. The attacks were the deadliest in France since World War II, and the deadliest in Europe since the 2004 Madrid train bombings, according to The New York Times
. On Thursday, France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls said there is an ongoing threat, adding tha "there is also the risk from chemical or biological weapons" in the future.
7. Washington, D.C.
— On Monday, Islamic State militants declared in a video: "We say to the states that take part in the crusader campaign that, by God, you will have a day, God willing, like France’s and by God, as we struck France in the center of its abode in Paris, then we swear that we will strike America at its center in Washington." Following the video, CIA Director John Brennan said, "It's not just Europe. I think we here in the United States need to be obviously quite vigilant," according to ABC News
8. New York City
— On Wednesday, the New York Post reported that ISIS
had released a new video threatening an attack on Manhattan. Included in the short video are storefront shots of TGI Fridays in Times Square and the Gap in Herald Square, both of which are interspersed with footage of a terrorist preparing a suicide bomb belt. In a response statement, NYPD spokesman J. Peter Donald said, "We are aware of the newly released ISIS video that mentions Times Square . . . While there is no current or specific threat to the City at this time, we will remain at a heightened state of vigilance and will continue to work with the FBI, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the entire intelligence community to keep the City of New York safe." Mayor Bill de Blasio held a press conference in Times Square on Wednesday night, declaring, "The people of New York City will not be intimidated."
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