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IS releases new audio recording said to be from head al-Baghdadi

A new audio recording purportedly from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of the "Islamic State" group, was released on Thursday. In the message, al-Baghdadi called on all Muslims worldwide to join the fight in Syria and Iraq.

An apparent message from "Islamic State" (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the first since a number of media outlets reported that he had been wounded in Iraq earlier this year, was posted online on Thursday.

The group's al-Furqan media outlet posted the recording on several websites. In it, a voice that sounded like the IS head called on all Muslims to join his movement.

"There is no excuse for any Muslim not to migrate to the 'Islamic State' ... Joining [its fight] is a duty on every Muslim. We are calling on you either join or carry weapons [to fight], wherever you are."

The authenticity of the audio or when it was recorded could not be independently verified.

Threat to Saudi Arabia

In the message, Al-Baghdadi also threatened the rulers of Saudi Arabia, who he considers his enemies. He said that "their end is near" and added that Gulf rulers felt threatened by the growing popularity of his group among Sunni Muslims.

Saudi Arabia is currently leading a coalition of Gulf and Arab nations who are fighting Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen.

At the end of the message, al-Baghdadi saluted IS loyalists in several countries, including Egypt.

Al-Baghdadi has issued several audio messages since he declared himself caliph of the "Islamic State" last year, but has appeared in only one video message after his group seized the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Some media reports earlier this year theorized that al-Baghdadi was no longer running the group, while others even suggested that he had been killed.

av/cmk (Reuters, AFP)

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