Iraq, September 29 (ANI): Islamic State leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi has mocked the United States, called on the jihadis to rally against the Syrian regime and insisted that the ISIS 'remains' despite its rapid loss of territory, while also exhorting followers to stand fast and keep fighting, in his first purported, and undated, audio communication in almost a year.
It's to be noted that during this year, the jihadist group lost much of its self-proclaimed "caliphate".
Al-Baghdadi's last recording was in November 2016, two weeks after the start of the battle to recapture the city of Mosul from Islamic State (IS). The audio has come after several reports that Baghdadi was killed. The U.S. officials had said the ISIS was largely forced out of Raqqa as well as Mosul, and Baghdadi might have been somewhere in the middle Euphrates River Valley.
The speech seems to have been recorded relatively recently, as it references North Korean nuclear threats against Japan and the United States, as well as Syrian peace talks - in which Russia, Turkey and Iran are trying to extend ceasefires across Syria.
In his 46-minute video message, Baghdadi has urged fighters ("the mujahideen") to persevere, and to show that the bloodshed in Mosul, Raqqa and elsewhere was not in vain "by clashing the shining swords and shedding filthy blood."
"Beware of retreat, or the feeling of defeat, beware of negotiations or surrender. Do not lay down your arms," Baghdadi said, referring to followers in Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia, North Africa and elsewhere in Africa.
According to a translation provided by the SITE Intelligence Group, Al-Baghdadi also appealed for jihadi attacks worldwide, claiming that "America, Europe and Russia are living in a state of terror."
Baghdadi also rallied Sunni Muslims against the Shia, saying that they would never accept "half-solutions" -- especially after all the destruction and the gains they've made.
Baghdadi has also said that the prophet had not told his companions when or how Islam would be victorious, "so that they don't make victory or defeat dependent upon losing territory or some of the believers being killed."
Baghdadi also referenced the Western media, saying: "Oh soldiers of Islam in every location, increase blow after blow, and make the media centers of the infidels, and where they wage their intellectual wars, among your targets."
"With God's will and his strength, we are staying determined, patient...The abundance of killing will not stop us," Baghdadi concluded.
A spokesman with the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence told CNN: "We are aware of the audio tape purported to be of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and are taking steps to examine it. While we have no reason to doubt its authenticity, we do not have verification at this point." (ANI)