A new message purporting to come from the leader of Islamic State said air strikes by Russia and a US led coalition had failed to weaken the group, reported Reuters.
“Be confident that God will grant victory to those who worship him, and hear the good news that our state is doing well. The more intense the war against it, the purer it becomes and the tougher it gets,” said the audio recording, described as by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The authenticity of the message, posted on Saturday on Twitter accounts that have published Islamic State statements in the past, could not be verified.
It slammed Saudi Arabia’s efforts to set up a coalition of Muslim nations to fight his group.”If it was an Islamic coalition, it would have declared itself free from its Jewish and Crusader lords and made the killing the Jews and the liberation of Palestine its goal,” the message said.
According to AP, the Islamic State group has come under pressure in Syria and Iraq, where it has declared its self-styled Islamic caliphate on territory that the militant group controls. It lost the town Sinjar in Iraq last month, and areas across the border in Syria at the same time.
Iraqi government troops are also advancing in the Islamic State-held city of Ramadi, the provincial capital of the sprawling Anbar province, Iraq’s Sunni heartland.
Airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition and Russia in Syria have also destroyed Syrian oil facilities and killed several IS leaders in recent weeks.
“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. It is the battle of all the disbelievers against all the Muslims,” al-Baghdadi said.
He said the U.S.-led alliance does “not scare us… nor do they scatter our resolve because we are the victors in any event.”
The last such online public message said to be by Baghdadi was posted in May. He has been reported injured or killed several times in fighting, apparently incorrectly.
The authenticity of the audio — which was produced by the al-Furqan Media Foundation, ISIS’s media arm — could not be independently confirmed. However, it was posted on IS-affiliated websites and Twitter accounts that have been used to disseminate past IS messages.