IS releases new message mocking Saudi-led alliance

  • 27/12/2015
A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Reuters)
A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (Reuters)

The Islamic State's (IS) reclusive leader has released a new audio message, claiming the group's self-proclaimed "caliphate" is doing well, despite the world coalition against it.

In the 24-minute message, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi criticised the Saudi-led Islamic military alliance against terrorism and said the airstrikes had only increased IS' determination.

The recording was the leader's first since May and follows setbacks and loss of territory IS has faced.

The US-backed coalition in Syria, which includes Syrian Kurdish forces, Arab and Christian groups, recently captured a strategic dam on the Euphrates River from IS in northern Syria.

The coalition, called the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), is targeting supply lines in the north of the country. The seized Tishrin Dam provides electricity to much of northern Syria.

SDF forces are aiming to cut supply lines between IS' de-facto capital, Raqqa, and the northern IS stronghold of Manbij.

Kurdish militia known as YPG, or People's Protection Units, are a main force in the coalition fighting the terrorist group.

IS has lost the town of Sinjar in Iraq in the past month, as well as areas across the border in Syria. This week Iraqi forces announced they were advancing on the IS-held city of Ramadi, in Iraq's Sunni heartland.

US and Russian airstrikes have also destroyed Syrian oil facilities providing funding for the group and killed several IS leaders.

"It is unprecedented in the history of our Ummah [Islamic nation] that all the world came against it in one battle, as it is happening today," al-Baghdadi said. "It is the battle of all the disbelievers against all the Muslims."

The coalition does "not scare us … nor do they scatter our resolve because we are the victors in any event", he said.

He also mocked coalition forces for not putting boots on the ground.

"They do not dare to come, because their hearts are full of fear from the mujahideen [holy warriors].

"America and its allies dream of destroying the caliphate through their proxies and henchmen,and whenever an alliance of theirs fails or a tail is cut, they hasten to establish another, until they recently declared the Salouli [Saudi] alliance that was falsely called Islamic."

He taunted the Saudi-led alliance, saying if it were truly Islamic it would fight the Syrian army, the Russians, as well as Shiites and Jews.

Saudi Arabia is leading the alliance against terrorism with 34 member states, though Iran, Iraq and Syria do not form part of the new coalition.

"We promise you, God permitting, that whoever participates in the war against Islamic State will pay the price dearly," al-Baghdadi said.

Threatening Israel, he said: "We haven't forgotten you … we are getting closer to you [every day]."

In the message, he called for Muslims around the world to join the IS' fight, saying it was their Islamic duty to rise up.

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