- New tape, purportedly from ISIS leader, references recent events and urges fighters not to retreat
- Last public utterances attributed to the ISIS leader came almost a year ago
(CNN)ISIS has released a rare audio message purportedly from leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, attempting to rally the terror group’s fighters as Iraqi troops enter the key city of Mosul.
Addressing the estimated 5,000 ISIS members holed up in the city, Baghdadi says that ”holding your ground in honor is a thousand times better than retreating in disgrace.”
The tape, the first recording of Baghdadi released since late 2015, features the ISIS leader claiming to be ”confident of victory” in Mosul, the group’s Iraqi stronghold, despite being vastly outnumbered by the approaching Iraqi troops.
Released by ISIS’ media wing al-Furqan, the message has a vicious sectarian tone, with the animosity toward Shia Muslims and other, non-Muslim groups more pronounced than in previous recordings.
The voice, which CNN cannot independently verify as being that of Baghdadi, says that ”God’s enemies from the Jews, Christians, atheists, Shiites, apostates and all of the world’s infidels have dedicated their media, money, army and munitions to fight Muslims and jihadists in the State of Nineveh after they witnessed it become one of the bases of Islam and one of its minarets under the Caliphate.”
Nineveh is an ancient name for the modern day Mosul region
The audio, which is nearly 32 minutes long, references Turkey’s massing of armaments along the Iraq-Turkey border, suggesting that the recording was made very recently.
Along with rallying ISIS-affiliated fighters across the globe, he warns jihadists against ”conflict and disagreement.”