Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi remains defiant and threatens Israel in rare statement

Al-Baghdadi did not mention the recent Isis attacks in Paris at any point in the 24-minute message

Doug Bolton
Saturday 26 December 2015 20:40 GMT
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, delivering a sermon at a mosque in Iraq
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, delivering a sermon at a mosque in Iraq (AP)

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the reclusive leader of Isis, has said that his so called 'caliphate' is doing well and threatened the people of Israel in a rare audio statement released online.

In the 24-minute message, al-Baghdadi said his group was thriving despite an unprecedented military alliance against it, and a record number of aristrikes against its strongholds.

He said the international coalition against Isis was only increasing his resolve and determination, in the message which was his first since May 2015.

As his statement was released, a US-backed coalition of rebels successfully captured a major dam on the Euphrates River from Isis forces, as part of the coalition's march on Isis-held areas in the north of Syria.

Despite the defiant message, Isis is under greater fire than ever before, with recent airstrikes by Western nations killing senior leaders and disrupting the flow of oil and goods to their territories.

Later in the statement, which was generally branded as unremarkable by analysts, al-Baghdadi taunted the US for not putting boots on the ground in Syria.

"They do not dare to come, because their hearts are full of fear from the mujahideen (holy warriors)," he said.

"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 Saudi alliance that was falsely called Islamic," he said, referring to the recently-formed 34-nation anti-Isis alliance formed by Saudi Arabia.

If this alliance was truly Islamic, then it would fight the Syrian army and its Russian "masters", as well as Shiites and Jews, he said.

Al-Baghdadi also threatened Israel, saying "we haven't forgotten you" and "we are getting closer to you" every day.

Significantly, the recent Isis attacks in Paris were not mentioned at any point during the speech.

He also repeated calls for Muslims worldwide to travel to Isis-held territories and join the group.

The audio message was posted on Isis-affiliated websites and Twitter accounts, and was produced by the groups's media arm.

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