Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called for attacks in Saudi Arabia, said his caliphate was expanding across the Arab world, and called for “volcanoes of jihad” in an audio tape speech purported to be in his name on Thursday.
Baghdadi also said a U.S.-led military campaign against his group in Syria and Iraq was failing. Reuters could not independently confirm the authenticity of the speech, which was carried on jihadist websites.
There have been contradictory accounts out of Iraq following U.S. air strikes on Friday about whether Baghdadi was wounded in a raid. The United States said on Tuesday it could not confirm whether he was killed or wounded in Iraq following a strike near the city of Falluja.
The speech was not dated but carried a reference to a Nov. 7 U.S. announcement that President Barack Obama had approved sending up to 1,500 more U.S. troops to Iraq.
“O sons of al-Haramayn (Saudi Arabia)…the serpentâ€™s head and the stronghold of the disease are there…draw your swords and divorce life, because there should be no security for the Saloul,” Baghdadi said, using a derogatory term to refer to the leadership of Saudi Arabia.
He disparages opponents of IS as “Jews, Crusaders, apostates… [and] devils”, and says the US and its allies “are terrified, weak and powerless”.
The recording also calls for attacks in Saudi Arabia - describing Saudi leaders as “the head of the snake” - and says that the US-led military campaign in Syria and Iraq is failing.
Gulf state rulers, who have joined the US-led coalition against IS, are described as “treacherous”.
Islamic State has seized swathes of Syria and Iraq, declaring a caliphate over territory it controls in June. Baghdadi said he had accepted oaths of allegiance from supporters in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Algeria.
“Oh soldiers of the Islamic State…erupt volcanoes of jihad everywhere. Light the earth with fire against all dictators,” Baghdadi said.
“God has ordered us to fight. `For that reason the soldiers of the Islamic State are fighting… they will never leave fighting, even if only one soldier remains. They will never leave fighting, because they reject humiliation.”
Referring to U.S.-led military action against his group, he said: “Despite this Crusade campaign being the most fierce and severe of all, it is the greatest failure.”
“We see America and its allies stumbling in fear, weakness, impotence and failure.”