Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi called on extremists to wage war in a purported new audio recording released on Wednesday.
The Telegram message is the first known to be released since another was broadcast in September last year, and comes as Daesh has lost most of its territory in Iraq and Syria.
However, the voice on the recording has not been confirmed to be Al Baghdadi’s. The recording runs for about 55 minutes.
If it is from Al Baghdadi, this is the first audio message from him to be released since the fall of Raqqa in October 2017, as Daesh-held land in Syria continues to dwindle.
“US Central Command is aware of the alleged audio recording,” CNN quoted Central Command spokesperson Capt. William Urban said.
“I am not going to comment on our assessment of the recording. We do not know where Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi is at this time, but he continues to be someone that we are interested in removing from the battlefield.
“I do not believe that any official US government source has ever claimed that he is dead.”
Urban said that US officials believe that the Daesh leader is still alive.
Baghdadi has made only one public appearance, in July 2014, in the Al Nuri Mosque in Mosul, which was retaken by Iraqi security forces in June 2017.
Daesh has since released various audio messages that it claims are from Baghdadi — most recently, one in September 2017 that appeared to make reference to news events that happened after Russia claimed he was dead.
Source: Gulf News