The Takfiri ISIL group has released an audio recording with a voice purported to belong to the terrorist group’s leader, Ibrahim al-Samarrai aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, amid rumors that he has been killed or wounded in US-led airstrikes in Iraq.
“Be assured, O Muslims, for your state is good and in the best condition. Its march will not stop and it will continue to expand,” the man purported to be al-Samarrai said in the 17-minute audio recording, which was released on Thursday.
“Soon, the Jews and Crusaders will be forced to come down to the ground and send their ground forces to their deaths and destruction,” the man in the audio recording said.
Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi had previously said in a Facebook post that al-Samarrai had been injured along with his deputy, Musallam al-Turkmani, during airstrikes near the Iraqi city of Mosul, a hub of the terrorist group’s activities, late on November 8.
US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes also confirmed on November 11 that an air raid struck some of the leaders of the ISIL terrorist group.
“As you know, we did take a strike that successfully hit a number of ISIL vehicles that we assess was associated with ISIL leadership,” he said, adding, however, that Washington “cannot confirm his (al-Samarrai’s) status at this point.”
Local witnesses and government sources confirmed that al-Samarrai was hurt in the airstrikes.
Local government sources also said an aircraft earlier dropped its payload over a meeting of senior ISIL militants, killing over a dozen of them.
The ISIL terrorists currently control large areas of Iraq. The group sent its militants into Iraq in June, seizing large parts of land straddling the border between Syria and Iraq.