ISIS Declares It Has ‘Covert Units’ In Turkey

The ISIS-linked Amaq News Agency published infographic showing "the spread of the Islamic State" to mark its second anniversary

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Jun 29, 2016 at 11:24 AM ET

The Islamic State marked two years since the establishment of its so-called caliphate with a colorful infographic, celebrating the group’s global expansion. In the wake of Tuesday’s airport bombing, ISIS also declares it has “covert units” worldwide, including in Turkey.

On Wednesday, the ISIS-linked Amaq News Agency published the infographic, a piece of propaganda meant to show “the spread of the Islamic State” since June 29, 2014, when ISIS announced its “caliphate.” According to the media group, ISIS’ expansion has included “covert units” in Turkey and France, where ISIS carried out a major terror attack in November.

More After Istanbul Attack, ISIS Remains Surprisingly Silent

The release of the infographic came just hours after suicide attackers killed 41 people at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport on Tuesday. It remains unclear who was responsible for the attack. Turkey’s prime minster, however, said signs pointed to ISIS, while U.S. officials have said the terror group is a top suspect.

ISIS has operated in the country since at least July 2015, when a suspected ISIS bomber blew himself in the town of Suruc, killing 31 people. Several weeks ago, Amaq claimed ISIS assassinated a U.S. citizen who had been working as a fire chief at İncirlik Airbase in the southern Turkish province of Adana. The Pentagon, however, denied the claims. The Turkish government has also blamed ISIS for a number of other attacks, including the January of 2016 bombing in an Istanbul market that killed 10, but it’s disputed if the terror group actually carried out those attacks.

In the latest infographic, ISIS says its “spread” across the world falls into three categories: areas of “major control,” areas of “medium control,” and “covert units.” In the first category, ISIS lists Syria and Iraq, where it has recently losing ground but still controls large swathes of territory. Under “medium control” it lists places where it announced official presence and carried out attacks, including Libya, Yemen, and Egypt. It also lists Niger, home to Boko Haram, as well as Afghanistan, Chechnya, Dagestan, Somalia, and the Philippines, where ISIS officially announced presence earlier this month.

The last category shows countries in which ISIS claims it has “covert units,” including Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Lebanon, Algeria, and Bangladesh. Over the last two years, ISIS has claimed responsibility for attacks in all of the countries.

The U.S. does not appear on the list, which says France is the only western country with “covert units.”