The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) has reportedly declared the areas it occupies in Iraq and Syria as a new Islamic state, removing Iraq and the Levant from its name and ushering in “a new era of international jihad”.

The announcement will see the Isis now simply refer to itself as The Islamic State, and the group has called on al-Qa’ida and other related militant Sunni factions operating in the region to immediately pledge their allegiance.

According to Isis’s chief spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, the declaration of the “restoration of the caliphate” was made after a meeting of the group’s Shura Council. In recent weeks, Isis has captured large areas of western and northern Iraq and for two years has held parts of Syria, imposing a harsh interpretation of Islamic law and in many cases, killing large numbers of opposition Shia Muslims.

Read more of the above article published today in the UK newspaper, The Independent.

There is a useful map showing the extent of the area now to be known as The Islamic State, and other pictures, at the end of the BBC's homepage report about these events.