Isil releases ‘Baghdadi audio message’ after death rumours
Audio message purportedly from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Isil leader, promises jihadist group will “fight to the last man” and “continue to expand” despite US strikes

Iraq’s Defense and Interior Ministries issued statements saying Baghdadi had been wounded Photo: AP
By Andrew Marszal, and agencies4:20PM GMT 13 Nov 2014

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) has released an audio recording it says is of its chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, days after an air strike on jihadist leaders in Iraq sparked rumours he had been wounded or killed.

In the 17-minute message, the man purported to be Baghdadi makes no direct reference to the alleged strike against Isil leadership but mentions developments that have occurred since.

The head of the extremist group says Isil “will fight to the last man”, and will “continue to expand” despite coalition strikes.

He calls on supporters to “erupt volcanoes of jihad everywhere”. In particular, he calls for attacks in Saudi Arabia, telling listeners that the Gulf kingdom is the “head of the snake”, and that his “caliphate” is expanding across the Arab world.

The comments by the militant group’s leader, if verified, would be his first since a US-led alliance began conducting air strikes targeting the group in Iraq and Syria.

In the statement, released Thursday on social media networks, he says his fighters “will never leave fighting, even if only one soldier remains.”

The recording appeared authentic, AP reported, and his voice appeared to correspond with previous recordings released by the group.

Al-Baghdadi’s statement came after rumours that he was wounded in an air strike. It was not clear whether the recording was made before or after the incident.