MS Risk Blog

New video released by ISIS leader

Posted on in Iraq, Syria, United States title_rule

13 November– A seventeen-minute video released by extremist group ISIS today features a message from their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In the video, the so called ‘caliph’ issued a call to his supporters to “erupt volcanoes of jihad.” The recording has been qualified as “authentic and recent” by counterterrorism consultancy groups. The video was shared across jihadist websites comes days after social media was ablaze with rumours that Baghdadi had been injured or killed in a coalition led air-strike. It is unknown when the video was recorded, but it does make reference to the Egyptian militant group Ansar Beit al Maqdis, a Sinai based group that has been responsible for targeting Egyptian security forces since 2013. In recent months, an Ansar Beit al Maqdis spokesman stated that the group was receiving advice from ISIS; the group officially pledged allegiance to Baghdadi in October. Baghdadi’s message says, “O soldiers of the Islamic State, continue to harvest the soldiers. Erupt volcanoes of jihad everywhere. Light the Earth with fire.” Baghdadi also directed his attention to the US-led coalition bombing campaigns over Iraq and Syria. Calling the campaigns unsuccessful, Baghdadi said, “America and its allies are terrified, weak, and powerless,” and adding that ISIS fighters would “never abandon fighting…They will be triumphant, even if only one man of them is left.” Baghdadi also announced that the “caliphate” he created over the summer would expand across the Arab world, and called on supporters of ISIS to conduct attacks in Saudi Arabia, targeting ruling leaders and Shiites. Baghdadi described Saudi leaders as “the head of the snake.” As a measure of the video’s newness, Baghdadi makes mention of US President Barack Obama’s announcement that the US would deploy an additional 1,500 troops to Iraq. Obama’s decision was announced after the air strike on Mosul that sparked the rumours of Bagdadi’s injuries. In recent days, there have been additional pledges of allegiance to Baghdadi from militant groups in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen. Just prior to the video’s release, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel testified before a House Armed Services Committee hearing about the new war. “Since I testified before this committee two months ago, our campaign against ISIL has made progress. ISIL’s advance in parts of Iraq has stalled, and in some cases been reversed, by Iraqi, Kurdish and tribal forces supported by U.S. and coalition airstrikes.” Hagel stated that the war against ISIS will intensify: “As Iraqi forces build strength, the tempo and intensity of our coalition’s air campaign will accelerate in tandem.”

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