The Islamic State group on Saturday released a new message purportedly from its reclusive leader, claiming that his self-styled "caliphate" is doing well despite an unprecedented alliance against it, threatening Israel, and criticizing the recently announced Saudi-led Islamic military coalition against terrorism. In the 24-minute audio, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi says airstrikes by the international coalition only increase his group's determination and resolve. The message was al-Baghdadi's first since May, and comes amid battlefield setbacks that IS has recently faced. "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 says. "It is the battle of all the disbelievers against all the Muslims."
He threatened Israel by saying, "we haven't forgotten you" and "we are getting closer to you" every day. To Israeli Jews, he said that they "will hide behind trees and stones" from the ISIS. Meanwhile, a US-backed coalition of rebels in Syria—including Syrian Kurdish, Arab and Christian groups—captured a major dam on the Euphrates River from the Islamic State group as part of the coalition's march on IS-held areas in northern Syria. The coalition, known as Syria Democratic Forces, announced earlier this week a new offensive aimed at cutting supply lines between IS strongholds in the country's north. The SDF said it seized the Tishrin Dam, which supplies much off northern Syria with electricity, on Saturday. (ISIS recently justified organ harvesting from living prisoners.)