BAGHDAD — Dispelling rumors of his injury or death, the leader of the militant group that calls itself the Islamic State issued a new call to arms Thursday in a 17-minute speech, belittling President Obama’s plan to send more soldiers to Iraq and urging disciples to “erupt volcanoes of jihad everywhere.”
An audio recording of the speech by the leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was distributed online, along with Arabic, English, and Russian transcripts. It was first reported by the SITE Intelligence Group, a jihadi monitoring organization.
Baghdadi’s speech appeared to end days of rumors that he had been killed or grievously wounded in an airstrike carried out in northwestern Iraq on Saturday by the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State.
It was not clear precisely when the recording was produced. But it alluded to an event that took place Monday, when an Egyptian militant organization pledged its loyalty to the Islamic State.
Baghdadi exhorted Muslims throughout the Middle East to rise up against “the agents of the Jews and crusaders, their slaves, tails, and dogs.” He declared, “We see America and her allies stumbling between fear, weakness, inability, and failure.”
The speech was distributed on the same day US military officials were testifying in Congress about the fight against the Islamic State.
The Sunni Muslim group has seized a large area that crosses the border of Syria and Iraq. On Nov. 7, Obama announced plans to deploy 1,500 additional soldiers to Iraq as advisers.
Baghdadi scoffed at that plan. In a mix of anti-Semitic and other hateful language, he urged followers to prioritize violence against Shi’ite Muslims and, after that, the Saudi royal family. Of the group’s enemies, he said: “Dismember them. Snatch them as groups and individuals.”