Jihadist militant group Isis has said it is establishing a caliphate, or Islamic state, on the territories it controls in Iraq and Syria.
According to BBC News, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) announced the establishment of the caliphate in an audio recording posted on the internet on Sunday.
Isis also said that from now on it would be known simply as "the Islamic State".
It also proclaimed the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as caliph and "leader for Muslims everywhere".
Setting up a state governed under strict Islamic law has long been a goal of many jihadists.
According to CNN, Iraq's government is touting military offensive to recapture Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit from extremists, with some officials taking to state-run television over the weekend to declare the army had defeated the ISIS.
But those who live in the city nestled along the Tigris River, about 140 kilometers (about 87 miles) northwest of Baghdad, told a different story on Sunday.
"There are no Iraqi troops here," one woman told CNN by telephone from Tikrit. The only presence, at least in her neighborhood, is the "Islamic state," she said, referring to ISIS.