On Thursday, ISIS released an audio statement by the chief of the Islamic militant organization Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has neither made an appearance nor has been heard in months, calling recruits from around the world to “fight in his land or wherever that may be.”
The voice in the audio message, which sounds like al-Baghdadi’s, urges Muslims around the world to take up arms and fight. The 35 minute-long message also refers to the air campaign orchestrated by Saudi against Shiite rebels in Yemen, which started on March 26, and reproaches the Saudi royal family.
The speech in the audio says, “Islam was never a religion of peace. Islam is the religion of fighting. No one should believe that the war that we are waging is the war of the Islamic State. It is the war of all Muslims, but the Islamic State is spearheading it. It is the war of Muslims against infidels.
“O Muslims go to war everywhere. It is the duty of every Muslim.”
The release of the audio message confirms that al-Baghdadi survived a coalition airstrike in northern Iraq earlier this year.
Buck Sexton, a former CIA counterterrorism analyst, told CNN that the audio is probably indirectly sending a message to its enemies.
Sexton said, “This is obviously ISIS trying to say, ‘Yeah, yeah, you thought you got him but you didn’t. Keep dreaming.'”
The speaker of the audio spoke in Arabic language, but it was also posted with subtitles in English, Turkish, German, French and Russian.
According to The Huffington Post, al-Baghdadi commended the fighters who became members of the organisation in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Algeria and Tunisia.
After Abu Alaa al-Afri, al-Baghdadi’s deputy, and Akram Qirbash, a senior member of the ISIS, were reportedly killed in an airstrike, al-Baghdadi’s health becomes an important issue for the militant organization.
However, the Pentagon has not corroborated the deaths of al-Afri and Qirbash.
In a 17-minute audio message released by ISIS on its social media website in November last year, al-Baghdadi denounced the coalition led by the United States to destroy the organization, saying that it was “terrified, weak and powerless.”
The message was posted a few days after al-Baghdadi had been allegedly wounded in an airstrike. The U.S. was not able to verify al-Baghdadi’s injury at the time.
Al-Baghdadi made a public appearance when he delivered a sermon in the northern city of Mosul in July last year.
The Islamic State organisation has majority of Iraq and northern and eastern Syria in its control.
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