Islamic State Chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi resurfaced with a purported audio recording for the first time in nearly 11 months on Wednesday. In his recording, he urged Muslims to ‘persevere’ and continue with Jihad to fight their enemies.
The audio recording which was released by the extremist group’s central media arm, al-Furqan Foundation, is nearly 54-minutes long and titled “Give Glad Tidings to the Patient”.
The recent audio message comes after Baghdadi’s last recording which had surfaced in September 2017 in which the terrorist had called on IS followers to “burn” their enemies and target “media centers of the infidels”.
The recording comes amidst confusion and mystery regarding Baghdadi’s existence and his whereabouts. The group lost around 90 percent of the territory it once controlled in Iraq and Syria where the group declared a caliphate in June 2014.
The “caliphate will remain, God willing”, Baghdadi, however, said in the recording, addressing followers in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
In Wednesday’s recording, Al-Baghdadi congratulated IS followers on the occasion of the Muslim al-Adha feast and made references to current events including Turkey’s row with the US over its detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson. If the voice on the audio is confirmed to be of the IS chief, it will disprove reports of his alleged death.
Al-Baghdadi also said, “America is going through the worse time in its entire existence” and added Russia was competing with the US over regional influence and clout. Baghdadi also appeared to criticise a $100-million pledge by Saudi Arabia in the previous week to help rebuild Syria’s northeast. He also urged his followers to wage ‘jihad’ and have patience and continue their perseverance.
Baghdadi who appeared in the public in June 2014 in the Northern Iraqi city of Mosul, has been in hiding ever since and the US government has dubbed him “most wanted man on the planet” and have declared a reward of $25 million for his capture. Al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts are unknown but he is believed to be hiding in the desert that stretches in the Syrian-Iraqi border region.