Audio recording urges more attacks on West
ISLAMIC State 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 on Thursday 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 Islamic State.
“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 cour- ageous. 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 makes an apparent reference to recent events including North Korean threats against Japan and US and the recapture two months ago of Mosul by US-backed Iraqi forces.
Since Baghdadi proclaimed the caliphate stretching across Iraq and Syria in 2014, Iraqi forces have retaken a string of cities in Iraq including Mosul, where Baghdadi made his announcement from the city’s El Nuri mosque. Meanwhile, sev- eral Islamic State militants have been killed in US airstrikes in Libya, the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) says.
US forces conducted two precision airstrikes against militants on Tuesday in an area about 160km southeast of the coastal city of Sirte, the former stronghold of the Islamic State extremist militia in Libya.
AFRICOM did not detail the exact number of deaths.