2004 –
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi establishes al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).
2006 – Under al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda in Iraq tries to ignite a sectarian war against the majority Shia community.
June 7, 2006 – Al-Zarqawi is killed in a U.S. strike. Abu Ayyub al-Masri, also known as Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, takes his place as leader of AQI.
October 2006 – AQI leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri announces the creation of Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), and establishes Abu Omar al-Baghdadi as its leader.
April 2010 – Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi becomes leader of ISI after Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri are killed in a joint U.S.-Iraqi operation.
April 2013 – ISI declares its absorption of an al Qaeda-backed militant group in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the al-Nusra Front. Al-Baghdadi says that his group will now be known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). Al-Nusra Front leader Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani rejects ISIS’s attempt to merge with the group.
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