Islamic State (IS) on Thursday released an audio recording from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the first such purported public message from the jihadist group’s leader in almost a year.
In the audio message, which was 46-minutes long, Baghdadi exhorted followers across the world to wage attacks against the West and to keep fighting in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, Reuters reports.
The audio, partly dedicated to religious scriptures, came after several reports earlier this year that Baghdadi had been killed in an airstrike.
His last recording was in November 2016, two weeks after the start of the battle to recapture the city of Mosul from IS.
“Oh Soldiers of the Caliphate, fan the flames of war on your enemies, take it to them and besiege them in every corner, and stand fast and courageous,” Baghdadi is heard saying in the latest clip.
“Beware of retreat, or the feeling of defeat, beware of negotiations or surrender. Do not lay down your arms,” he said, referring to followers in Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, North Africa and elsewhere in Africa.
The date of the recording, released via the Al-Furqan news organization, was not clear.
But in it, Baghdadi makes an apparent reference to recent events including North Korean threats against Japan and US and the recapture two months ago of Mosul by US-backed Iraqi forces, Reuters noted.
Since Baghdadi proclaimed the caliphate stretching across Iraq and Syria in 2014, Iraqi forces have retaken a string of cities in western and northern Iraq including Mosul.
Western-backed Syrian forces are also thrusting into the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa, Islamic State’s operational headquarters from where it plotted many of the attacks that have killed hundreds of people around the world.
Baghdadi also called for attacks on Western media, saying: “Oh soldiers of Islam in every location, increase blow after blow, and make the media centers of the infidels, from where they wage their intellectual wars, among the targets.”
“Continue your Jihad and your blessed operations and do not let the crusaders rest in their homes and enjoy life and stability while your brethren are being shelled and killed.”
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