Islamic State – known as ISIS and ISIL – is an extremist rebel group controlling territory in Iraq and Syria.
Many Islamic and non-Islamic communities judge the group to be unrepresentative of Islam.
The group is regarded as a terrorist organisation by the United Nations, the European Union and countries including the UK, America, Australia, Canada, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.
More than 60 countries are directly or indirectly waging war against ISIS.
Its precise size is unclear, but it is thought to include thousands of fighters, including many foreign jihadists, working towards an Islamic emirate.
The group has gained a reputation for brutal rule in the areas that it controls.
Since the beginning of 2014, a number of hostages from a range countries have been beheaded by the a radical Islamist group IS.
The group has posted a number of videos of the barbaric killings online.
IS executioner ‘Jihadi John’, who features in some of the propaganda videos, has been unmasked as Mohammed Emwazi, who was born in Kuwait but moved to Britain as an asylum seeker as a young child in the 1990s.
He lived in London with his parents and five siblings after they were granted refugee status.
They fled Kuwait claiming persecution.
Emwazi, who went to school in north west London and was accepted into university, travelled to Syria about two years ago, after telling his family he planned to fight.