The Islamic State terrorist group, or ISIS, is commonly perceived to be the most extreme Islamist terror group in the world due to its high-profile campaign of gratuitous slaughter throughout Syria and Iraq. The group officially broke off from Al Qaeda last year, one of several reasons for the split being the belief among Al Qaeda's leadership that the group's brutal methods were losing it support.
But it seems ISIS is not quite extreme enough for some.
On Monday, ISIS reportedly executed four of its members for planning a series of attacks against the jihadi group, which they accused of failing to apply Islamic law strictly enough in the areas under its control.
According to the pan-Arab Ashaarq Al-Awsat, a video released by ISIS announced the apprehension of a "cell" of four "extremist" members for planning an "armed revolt against the Caliphate."
It accused them of plotting to destabilize ISIS's rule and of aiding "the crusaders [i.e. the West], the Free Syrian Army, and the Nusayri regime." The term "Nusayri" is a reference to the Alawite regime of Bashar al-Assad commonly used by Sunni Islamist rebels.
During the video, an audio recording of the four men was played in which they confessed to the charges. The men were all apparently foreign fighters from Turkey and delivered their confessions in a Turkish dialect.
They admitted to having planned attacks against ISIS in Iraq, Syria and "surrounding areas", according to the paper, on the grounds that it was an "infidel organization", and denounced the group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as being "outside the fold of Islam". Their grievance apparently centered around the fact that ISIS has not declared the entire populations of Iraq and Syria as infidels, and has collected money - via taxation and extortion - from "infidel populations" in those countries to finance its campaign.
Although ISIS did not officially announce their execution, it ended the video suggesting it had - citing a Koranic passage which describes "the punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might... for mischief through the land" as "execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land." (Surat Al-Maeda 5.33)
An opposition activist in ISIS's de-facto capital of Raqqa confirmed that the men had indeed been executed, but claimed that the scale of the planned rebellion was far larger than ISIS admitted - consisting of some 50 individuals.
"The group executed the four Turkish members who were featured in the video, but after having interrogated them, they discovered the cell also included dozens of other fighters from the group, including Turks, Syrians, Azerbaijanis and other nationalities. These men were all sentenced to death," he claimed.