ISIS has garnered its first major international ally in the form of Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, an Egyptian militant group the New York Times calls the country's most dangerous. That organization pledged obedience to ISIS yesterday, the Times reports. Until now, Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has largely targeted only Egypt's official forces, but the new alliance could prompt it to begin killing civilians. The new ties mark a success for ISIS as it vies with al-Qaeda for influence, potentially boosting recruitment abroad, the Times notes; and indeed, later yesterday, militants in Yemen and Libya also appear to have pledged their support for ISIS in statements that emerged on the Internet, the AP reports.
But it's not only ISIS that benefits from the affiliation. ISIS money and weapons could now go to the Egyptian group, which has sought revenge for the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. Egypt has struggled to defeat the group, which shows more sophistication than other militants and has killed hundreds of soldiers and police. "This is not just planting a bomb and running," says a researcher. In fact, some officials have worried that Ansar Beit al-Maqdis is getting inside information on the military.