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ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Purportedly Says Coalition ‘Terrified, Weak’

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The speaker in an audio message posted Thursday on an ISIS social media account claims to be leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the leader of Islamic State in Iraq. A reward up to $10 million has been offered by the U.S. government. (Credit:rewardsforjustice.net)

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the leader of Islamic State in Iraq. A reward up to $10 million has been offered by the U.S. government. (Credit: rewardsforjustice.net)

He is heard saying the U.S.-led coalition to destroy ISIS is “terrified, weak and powerless.” CNN cannot confirm the authenticity of the online message or when it was recorded.

The 17-minute audio says the coalition’s effort has been a “failure” and the coalition will be “forced” to “send ground forces to their deaths and destruction.”

The speaker also urges Islamic State fighters to take their battle everywhere and “light the Earth with fire upon all tyrants,” and mentions U.S. President Barack Obama’s plan to deploy 1,500 additional U.S. troops to Iraq “under the claim they are advisers.”

Laith Alkhouri, a senior analyst at Flashpoint Partners, a U.S. outfit that tracks jihadist websites, said analysts believe the audio is authentic.

It was “issued on the top-tier Islamic State web forum and other top jihadi web forums,” Alkhouri said. “It was posted by the handle of the Islamic State’s official media correspondent. Al-Baghdadi’s voice is clearly heard in the audio.”

This graphic depicts the leadership structure of ISIS, with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the leader. (Credit: CNN)

This graphic depicts the leadership structure of ISIS, with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the leader.
(Credit: CNN)

There were reports last weekend that al-Baghdadi might have been hit in airstrikes, but it was not clear where he was in Iraq or whether he was wounded. Experts said that ISIS has a clear line of succession and someone would take al-Baghdadi’s place in the radical Sunni group if he was incapacitated or out of the picture entirely.

More than 40 nations have joined the global coalition to battle ISIS.

The U.S. has conducted an air campaign against the militant group while Kurdish and Iraqi forces have fought on the ground.

Obama has asked his national security team to again review the nation’s policy toward Syria. It might not be possible to get rid of ISIS while Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is still in power, senior U.S. officials and diplomats told CNN this week.

A pledge to keep fighting

Little is known about al-Baghdadi. He formed his own militant group in the Samarra and Diyala areas of Iraq, where his family is from, and then joined al Qaeda in Iraq. He served four years in a U.S. prison camp for insurgents during the Iraq War.

The voice that’s purportedly al-Baghdadi says that ISIS fighters will wage war for as long as they have to.

“Even if only one soldier of them remained, they will never abandon fighting, because they defy humiliation and injustice,” the voice says. “They will never abandon fighting, because they did not taste honor and dignity except by fighting. They will never abandon fighting. Indeed, they are triumphant. They will be triumphant even if only one man of them is left. They are triumphant and upon certainty of Allah’s support for them.”

The voice also says he has good news — ISIS is expanding into Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Libya and Algeria.

The posting comes on the same day that ISIS announced on social media that its “treasury department” will begin minting its own currency in gold, silver and copper.

A statement from the military group said that al-Baghdadi directed the creation of the currently to avoid the “tyrants’ financial system.”