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.