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IS attacks claim more than 800 lives abroad this year

The Islamic State group has dramatically expanded its theatre of operations from its hub in Syria and Iraq, executing or inspiring a series of attacks across three continents that claimed more than 800 lives this year.

The mayhem created by those attacks — including the downing of a Russian airliner and a killing spree in the heart of Paris — attracts the kind of attention that the extremist group thrives on.

IS, which has recently lost territory to U.S.-backed forces in Syria and Iraq, seeks to boost its credentials with spectacular acts of violence that attract recruits.

The scope of recent attacks and number of those killed and wounded demonstrate a...