Cairo: Islamic State (IS) released on Thursday an audio message purportedly recorded by leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, rumoured to have been killed months ago.
The 47-minute-long recording features references to the recent defeats suffered by IS in both Syria and Iraq, including the loss in July of their Iraqi stronghold, Mosul.
Al-Baghdadi seeks to reassure IS fighters, telling that a crisis represents a gift from God, Efe reported.
“Ignite the fire of war against your enemies and have patience,” he says.
Though the recording is undated, al-Baghdadi mentions not only the fall of Mosul, but current events such as the US-North Korea crisis and tensions surrounding the independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Besides fulminating against IS foes such as the Syrian government, Iran and Russia, he blasted Turkey, saying that “the Turkish government has great fears about Kurds expanding at its border, which pushes it to fight them so that Turkish Kurds wouldn’t seek independence as well.”
“Turkey does not dare to fight them, fearing to anger its American and European masters, so in their expectations it is an inevitable — but postponed — battle,” Al-Baghdadi says.
The audio released on Thursday was the first message from Al-Baghdadi since November 2016.
The Russian military said in June that Al-Baghdadi might have been killed in an airstrike on a gathering of IS senior commanders in the Syrian city of Raqqa, the “capital” of their self-proclaimed Islamic caliphate.