Baghdadi message reaffirms IS leadership

An image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State jihadist group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in MosulThe Islamic State's release of an audio message by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi reaffirmed his leadership of the group following a six-month silence and rumours over his health. In his half-hour speech posted on jihadist forums on Thursday, Baghdadi calls for a general mobilisation and urges all Muslims to move to the caliphate he proclaimed last year or wage jihad (holy war) wherever they are. Rumours emerged last month that Baghdadi was seriously wounded in a March air strike and had relinquished the organisation's leadership to a militant called Abu Alaa al-Afari. The recording provides no clues as to Baghdadi's health but largely dispels any notion he is no longer the overall leader of an organisation which now claims branches all over the region, as well as in Asia and Africa.


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