ISIS leader urges at­tack

Au­dio mes­sage tells fol­low­ers to keep up fight

The Courier-Mail - - WORLD -

CAIRO: ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Bagh­dadi has ex­horted fol­low­ers across the world to wage at­tacks against the West and to keep fight­ing in Iraq, Syria and else­where.

The mes­sage re­leased yes­ter­day was his first pur­ported au­dio com­mu­ni­ca­tion in al­most a year, dur­ing which his ji­hadist group lost much of its self-pro­claimed “caliphate”.

The au­dio, partly ded­i­cated to re­li­gious scrip­tures, came after sev­eral re­ports Bagh­dadi had been killed. His last record­ing was in Novem­ber 2016, two weeks after the start of the bat­tle to re­cap­ture the city of Mo­sul from ISIS.

“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. 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.

The date of the 46-minute record­ing, re­leased via the AlFurqan news or­gan­i­sa­tion, was not clear.

But in it, Bagh­dadi (pic­tured) makes an ap­par­ent ref- er­ence to events in­clud­ing North Korean threats against Ja­pan and the US and the re­cap­ture two months ago of Mo­sul by US-backed Iraqi forces. It came as mil­i­tary ex­perts an­nounced that war be­tween the US and North Korea was a “real pos­si­bil­ity” and would lead to the deaths of hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple even if no nu­clear weapons were used.

A re­port pub­lished by the Royal United Ser­vices In­sti­tute said Py­ongyang was mak­ing “rapid progress” in its mis­sile and nu­clear pro­gram and “time is not on diplo­macy’s side”.

The re­port sug­gested US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, faced with the con­tin­u­ing war against ISIS, would “‘re­solve the North Korea is­sue sooner rather than later”.

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