ISIS has released a new audio recording, purportedly of its shadowy leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, his first in almost a year. In the audio, al-Baghdadi—whose whereabouts and fate remain unknown—urges followers to "persevere" and continue fighting the group's enemies everywhere. The 54-minute audio entitled "Give Glad Tidings to the Patient" was released by the extremist group's central media arm, al-Furqan Foundation, on Wednesday evening, the AP reports. The audio's authenticity could not be independently verified and there were no clues as to where it was recorded. The question of whether al-Baghdadi is dead or alive has been a continuing source of mystery and confusion.
His last audio message was on Sept. 28, 2017, in which he called on his followers to burn their enemies everywhere and target "media centers of the infidels." In Wednesday's recording, al-Baghdadi makes references to current events, including Turkey's row with the United States over its detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson. If the voice on the audio is confirmed to be that of al-Baghdadi, this would date the message to this month and disprove reports of his death. "America is going through the worst time in its entire existence," al-Baghdadi says, adding that Russia is competing with the US over regional influence and clout.
(Read more Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi