Quantcast
Connect with us

Islamic State releases audio of chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after death rumors

Published

on

The Islamic State group has released a defiant audio recording it said was of chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, after air strikes on jihadist leaders in Iraq sparked rumours he had been wounded or killed.

In the 17-minute message, the man purported to be Baghdadi vowed that IS, which has overrun swathes of Iraq and Syria, will continue to expand despite international air strikes, and that its opponents will be drawn into a ground war.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Be assured, O Muslims, for your State is good and in the best condition. Its march will not stop and it will continue to expand,” said the man in the recording, whose voice sounded like Baghdadi’s but whose identity could not be independently confirmed.

“Soon, the Jews and Crusaders will be forced to come down to the ground and send their ground forces to their deaths and destruction,” he said.

US President Barack Obama has announced plans to double the number of US military personnel in Iraq to up to 3,100 to help advise and train Baghdad’s forces — a move the man in the audio recording said was the start of the ground war between the two sides.

The message was the first said to be from Baghdadi since a video released in July, shortly after IS proclaimed a “caliphate” over parts of Iraq and Syria, of the jihadist leader delivering a Friday sermon in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

While the recording seemed aimed at dispelling speculation that Baghdadi was seriously injured or dead, it did not mention the strikes against IS leaders.

ADVERTISEMENT

But it did reference the decision by Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, Egypt’s deadliest militant group, to pledge allegiance to Baghdadi and IS, which was announced after the strikes.

– Strikes sparked rumours –

The United States said that coalition aircraft launched strikes targeting IS leaders in the area of their northern hub of Mosul on Friday, setting off a flurry of speculation that Baghdadi was wounded or killed.

Some reports meanwhile pointed to another alleged strike near Iraq’s border with Syria, saying Baghdadi was hit there instead.

ADVERTISEMENT

But officials in both Iraq and the United States have made clear that no one is yet certain about Baghdadi’s fate.

Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said Monday that “the bottom line from our perspective is we simply cannot confirm his current status”.

ADVERTISEMENT

And senior Iraqi officials from the interior and defence ministries and the intelligence service said investigations were ongoing.

The death of the elusive IS leader would be a major victory for the US-led coalition, but with both areas where strikes were rumoured to have hit Baghdadi far from government control, confirming anything there will be difficult if not impossible.

Rumours of Baghdadi’s demise have surfaced before and the absence of video in Thursday’s release by the IS group’s media arm is likely to fuel further speculation he was indeed wounded.

ADVERTISEMENT

IS spearheaded a militant offensive in June that overran Iraq’s second city Mosul and then swept through much of the country’s Sunni Arab heartland, adding chunks of a second country to territory it already held in Syria.

It has carried out atrocities in both countries.

The group has killed hundreds of Iraqi and Syrian tribesmen who opposed it, attacked members of the Yazidi and other minorities, sold women as slaves, executed scores of Iraqi security personnel and beheaded Western journalists and aid workers on camera.

IS is one of the most powerful forces in Syria’s civil war, a blood-soaked conflict that, combined with former Iraqi premier Nuri al-Maliki’s divisive policies, facilitated the group’s rise.

ADVERTISEMENT

Hours after the Baghdadi recording was announced, the US said it had launched fresh air strikes against an Al-Qaeda offshoot, the Khorasan group, in Syria.

“We can confirm that US aircraft struck a target in Syria earlier today associated with a network of veteran Al-Qaeda operatives, sometimes called the ‘Khorasan group,’ who are plotting external attacks against the United States and our allies,” spokesman Colonel Patrick Ryder told AFP.

Activists and a monitoring group said Thursday that United Nations aid has reached the last rebel-held area in the central Syrian city of Homs for the first time in six months.

“On Tuesday and Wednesday, 30 trucks of aid arrived in Waer for the first time in six months,” Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights told AFP.

ADVERTISEMENT

IS meanwhile claimed responsibility on Thursday for a suicide bombing targeting police in Iraq the day before, saying it had been carried out by a Dutch national.

It is the second attack allegedly involving a suicide bomber from a Western country in less than a week, after a British national blew up a truck packed with explosives in a northern town on Friday.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Oprah erects 26 billboards around Louisville — demanding the cops who killed Breonna Taylor get arrested

Published

on

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey continues to keep people talking about the killing of Breonna Taylor by the Louisville Metro Police Department.

"For the first time ever, just last week, Oprah Winfrey dedicated the cover of her magazine to someone other than herself -- Breonna Taylor. Now, that cover will be all over Louisville in the form of billboards big and small," WLKY-TV reported Thursday.

"She and the O Magazine team say they are amplifying Taylor's story and the fight for justice by erecting 26 billboards across the city. That's one for every year of her life," the station reported.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump’s vendetta against TikTok is a veil for his anti-China and anti-free speech views

Published

on

Last week, President Donald Trump announced that he was planning on banning TikTok, a video-sharing social networking service owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. Shortly after he said this, the American multinational technology company Microsoft announced that it would attempt to purchase TikTok's US operations arm, although Trump has only given the company until Sept. 15 to pull this off.

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

Eric Trump predicts his dad will win re-election: ‘The polls are looking great — you see it every day’

Published

on

One of President Donald Trump's children appeared on Fox News on Thursday to predict that his father would win re-election in November.

"Well listen, I think, um, I think we're looking really good," Eric Trump told Sean Hannity.

"The polls are looking great -- you see it every single day," Trump claimed. "The enthusiasm is tremendous."

"We're going to win," he predicted. "My father is going to win this election."

The prediction was offered the same day that NBC News released their first battleground map, showing Joe Biden on pace to win 334 Electoral College votes, Trump set to win 125 Electoral Votes, with 79 too close to call.

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image