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Islamic State's apparent expansion may be deceptive
Islamic State's apparent expansion may be deceptive

Herve Gourdel loved nothing more than to explore rugged peaks, journeys that over the decades had taken him from his native France to Nepal, Jordan, Morocco — and finally to Algeria, where in September the 55-year-old mountaineer was abducted and beheaded. Gourdel's executioners were with a group of Islamist militants calling themselves Soldiers of the Caliphate. The little-known group had seized on a way to grab headlines around the world: asserting that his grisly death had been carried out in the name of Islamic State. Across a swath of North Africa and beyond, militant groups are rebranding themselves as local affiliates of the Sunni Muslim extremist group that controls...