ISIS released a rare audio recording of its top leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, on Thursday, urging the group to continue their fight in Iraq and Syria, the New York Times reported.
In the 46-minute audio recording, al-Baghdadi praises the terror group for their continued fight despite the loss of Mosul earlier this year and several parts of Raqqa, ISIS’s de facto capital in Syria.
“This predicament is a generous gift from God,” Baghadi praised the jihadis in the recording, saying the top priority for Muslims is to “satisfy” God.
US intelligence officials told CNN that they have “no reason to doubt the authenticity of a new 46-minute audio tape of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.” however the intelligence agencies are reviewing the audio.
This new development comes after a Syrian monitoring group said that Baghdadi had been killed. However, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said at the time that ‘Until I see his body, I am going to assume he is alive.’
“Victory against their enemies and the enemy of God comes next,” Baghdadi continued.
Baghdadi praised the jihadi’s attacks on Europe and the United States, including indirect references to the London and Barcelona terror attacks.
Baghdadi called for more attacks on the “unbelievers.”
“Oh soldiers of Islam and caliphate supporters everywhere, intensify the successive attacks, and include the unbelievers’ media headquarters and the ideological war centers among [your] targets,” he said, according to multiple media outlets translations.
“Continue your jihad and blessed operations, and do not let the Crusaders and apostates enjoy a good life or a pleasant living in the middle of their countries while your brothers are experiencing bombardment, killing, and destruction,” he added.
The recording addresses recent political developments including the increased tensions between North Korea and the United States.
The recording is the first time since November that al-Baghdadi’s voice has been heard by ISIS supporters.
In June, Russian officials said that al-Baghdadi was killed in an airstrike in Raqqa.
London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), reported in July that al-Baghdadi was killed in Deir al-Zour Province
U.S. officials said last month that they believe he is still alive.
ISIS has been continuously losing its foothold in Iraq and Syria after Iraqi forces and the U.S.-backed coalition launched an offensive campaign against the terrorist organization.