Minnesota Public Radio News June 23, 2014
The alarming dispatches from Iraq often feature a jumble of letters new to many American ears: ISIL, or sometimes ISIS. ISIL stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a Sunni insurgent group.
Its previous name is more familiar: al-Qaida in Iraq.
The group emerged during the Iraq War as a major player in the Shiite vs. Sunni violence that threatened to rip Iraq apart along sectarian lines. The U.S. State Department classified al-Qaida in Iraq as a terrorist organization in 2004.