In this Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014 photo, smoke rises from explosions demolishing houses on the Egyptian side of the border town of Rafah as seen from the Palestinian side of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
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The leader of ISIS won the allegiance of Egypt's deadliest militant group Monday as Iraqi authorities investigated reports he had been killed or wounded in a US airstrike.Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which has carried out a string of deadly attacks from its stronghold in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, said it was pledging its loyalty to the self-declared ISIS "caliph", Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Speculation has swirled that Baghdadi, whose group has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria, was killed or wounded in a US strike on jihadist leaders in northern Iraq on Friday, but officials said there was no confirmation. Strikes hit a gathering of ISIS leaders late Friday near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the Pentagon said, sparking reports that Baghdadi may have been killed or wounded there, or in a separate strike in western Anbar province.While it is clear the group's influence is growing, major Al-Qaeda branches have not recognised Baghdadi's authority and its Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front has clashed with ISIS fighters.
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