ISIS Leader Releases New Recording Amid Reports of Injury

In new audio recording, ISIS head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi urges Muslims to emigrate to his self-proclaimed "caliphate".

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Ben Ariel,

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Reuters

The leader of the Islamic State (ISIS) group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, on Thursday appeared in a new audio recording in which he urged Muslims to emigrate to his self-proclaimed "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria.

"And we call upon every Muslim in every place to perform hijrah (emigration) to the Islamic State or fight in his land wherever that may be," he said in the recording, according to the AFP news agency.

The voice reading the half-hour speech appeared to match previous audio recordings of Baghdadi, the latest of which was released in mid-November.

As did his previous speech, the audio tape recording released on Thursday comes a few days after media reports that Baghdadi might have been seriously wounded in a strike by the coalition bombing ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Just last week, the Guardian followed up that report with a claim that Baghdadi remains incapacitated due to suspected spinal damage sustained in that airstrike.

There was no way for AFP to immediately authenticate the latest recording nor date it but Baghdadi speaks of developments in Yemen, where Saudi-led forces launched an air campaign against Shiite rebels in late March, that suggest it is recent.

Echoing his previous exhortations, Baghdadi said moving to the caliphate he declared over parts of Iraq and Syria in June 2014 or waging jihad (holy war) at home was an obligation.

"There is no excuse for any Muslim who is capable of performing hijrah to the Islamic State, or capable of carrying a weapon where he is," he said in the speech, transcripts of which were released in five languages.

"Has the time not come for you to know that there is no might nor honor nor safety nor rights for you except in the shade of the Caliphate?," he added, addressing Muslims.

He criticized Sunni civilians fleeing fighting in the western province of Anbar to seek shelter in Baghdad and other government-controlled areas.

"So return to your lands, and remain in your homes, and seek shelter -- after first seeking shelter with Allah -- with your people in the Islamic State, for you will find therein, by Allah's permission, a warm embrace and a safe refuge," he said.

Baghdadi lashed out at Saudi Arabia's rulers, accusing them of launching their air campaign against the Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen only to please the West.

"Their war is nothing but an attempt to prove themselves once again to their masters from amongst the Jews and Crusaders," he charged, according to AFP.

"It is nothing but a desperate attempt to turn the Muslims away from the Islamic State."

Baghdadi also warned that ISIS would carry out more prison breaks, which have become one of the group's trademarks.

"I will not forget to mention the captives in the prisons of the apostate tyrants everywhere," he said.

"We will not hold back any strength or spare any effort or miss any opportunity, until we free the last one of you, with Allah's permission," he added.

More than 40 inmates, including IS terrorists, escaped in a prison break which ISIS claimed last week in the Iraqi town of Khalis.








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