Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Photo: Al-Furqan Media/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State, has issued an audio message to followers urging them to redouble efforts to further the group's mission, per the Wall Street Journal.

  • The message appears to be an attempt at boosting spirits among the extremist organization, which lost control of territories in Iraq and Syria earlier this year.
  • WSJ writes: "Severely weakened by the five-year military campaign that forced it underground in March, the extremist group remains a potent threat after reverting to insurgency while seeking to inspire attacks globally."

What they're saying:

“O soldiers of God everywhere, know that what is coming is good … so the efforts must be redoubled and one’s best must be given in all aspects, whether in preaching or media or military or security,”
— Baghdadi

Of note: Identification of Baghdadi's voice is based off information provided by the monitoring group SITE Intelligence. Neither WSJ nor Axios have independently confirmed the voice belongs to the leader.

  • Baghdadi has avoided capture, but is believed to be hiding in desert spanning the Syria-Iraq border. There is a $25 million bounty on him.

Between the lines: News of the message comes as officials fear a conflict breakout in the region following attacks on Saudi-Arabian oil. The U.S. has accused Iran of carrying out the event.

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