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 The force had a strong foundation of foreign fighters, particularly from Jordan, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Kurdish regions. Some joined from the Kurdistan-based jihadi group Ansar al-Islam, which had been operating in Iraq before Zarqawi’s group came, and JTJ began to actively recruit other Iraqis.
In 2013, it changed its name to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
  Both JTJ and Zarqawi were among the most prominent faces of the insurgency.
 In October 2004, Zarqawi formally joined Al Qaeda, renaming his organization Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn Zarqawi, known as Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) in English.
JTJ quickly gained notoriety for its violent tactics and targeting non-combatants, such as aid workers and native Iraqis.  It also drew international attention for its assassinations and gruesome beheading videos that it released on the Internet after kidnapping and killing non-Arabs in Iraq.
For example, it carried out suicide bombings that killed civilians while other insurgent groups used guerilla attacks that targeted the U.  JTJ also routinely conducted attacks on Shiite targets to incite sectarian conflict and complicate the occupation and government transition.