Sunni militants have declared the establishment of an Islamic state for the territories they control in Iraq and Syria.
The founders of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant made the declaration in an online audio statement posted on Sunday.
The group calls its chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, caliph -- ruler of the Muslim community. It urges Muslims everywhere to swear loyalty to him and support him.
Al-Baghdadi is wanted by the US government for alleged involvement in many militant attacks.
The Al-Qaeda breakaway group also said it is changing its name to just the Islamic State, dropping the mention of Iraq and the Levant.
The group has been fighting the government forces of Iraq and Syria. It has seized Iraq's 2nd largest city of Mosul and other areas.
The declaration comes on the 1st day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The move is apparently aimed at underlining the Sunni militant group's expanding influence and calling more fighters to Iraq and Syria.
Jun. 30, 2014 - Updated 01:37 UTC