30 January 2015 Analysis by BBC Monitoring
The Islamic State (IS) group has forged links with militants across North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, embracing regional franchises that have pledged allegiance to the group.
The latest branch was announced in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, on 26 January. The first new branches beyond the group's strongholds in Syria and Iraq were announced by IS leader Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi in November when he accepted pledges of allegiance from jihadists in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Some of those pledges came from existing groups which went on to re-brand themselves as new IS "provinces", or wilayat, such as the Egyptian Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and Algeria's Jund al-Khilafah. The most prolific branches have been those in Libya and Egypt, which have tapped into the IS media network to publish a steady flow of propaganda, highlighting attacks and publicising their attempts at governance. Others have maintained a shadowy presence. For example, the IS Yemeni and Saudi provinces have yet to claim any activities or establish propaganda channels. But the impact of the IS expansion has nevertheless been felt by its jihadist rivals in al-Qaeda, which has branches in many of the areas IS has moved into.