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In Audio Recording, ISIS Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Says Operations Underway, Urges 'Caliphate Soldiers' To Free Captives

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On September 16, 2019, pro-Islamic State (ISIS) media wing Al-Furqan Foundation released an audio recording featuring the group's leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, urging "Caliphate soldiers" to redouble their efforts in all levels, embrace those who had repented, and use force to release ISIS captives held in prisons and refugee camps.[1] In the 30-minute 15-second recording, titled "And Say, 'Do...,'"[2] which was posted on official ISIS Telegram channel Nashir News Agency and other pro-ISIS Telegram channels, Al-Baghdadi also reaffirmed the continuation of ISIS operations in various provinces and mocked the United States of being "exhausted" due to the attacks of ISIS fighters and said that it has been "dragged" into Mali and Niger.

Al-Baghdadi began by reciting various verses and sayings of the Prophet encouraging ISIS fighters to continue to wage jihad for the sake of Allah. He said that half a decade had passed since the establishment of the Caliphate, that its fighters are still making sacrifices, new recruits are still joining the group's ranks, and even "its humiliated enemies are acknowledging that it is remaining and expanding." He also hailed recent pledges of allegiance from various ISIS branches.

He praised ISIS's coordinated attacks in various locations, saying that "these unified raids are unprecedented in modern jihadi history." He said that in four days, ISIS fighters avenged the people of Syria by launching a raid in eight countries, carrying out 92 attacks that were preplanned in their timing and targets. He added that ISIS then launched "the raid of attrition" by carrying out 61 attacks in 11 countries in three days. This raid, he noted, was followed by "the second raid of attrition" by carrying out 152 operations in 10 provinces in the last 10 days of the year 1440 according to the Islamic calendar.

Al-Baghdadi then noted that these numbers of attacks were based on what were documented by the group, indicating that the numbers could be higher than what were reported. He said that ISIS's "attrition operations are underway on a daily basis on different fronts." "After America, the protector of the Cross, and its apostate agents in the region, had been crushed and humiliated in Afghanistan and Iraq, the dog of Al-Rum,[3] America, thank God, was mired in a quagmire [and] asking other countries for help. Its feet were dragged into Mali and Niger. [America] no longer does anything right except empty words and promises to its partners," he said.

"This forced [chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph F.] Dunford to say: 'We [clearly] do not have deterrence [against attacks] on our partners in the region,' causing great shockwaves and harm to its partners," he noted.

Noting that the United States had become "exhausted" at a time when its allies are fighting a prolonged battle, Al-Baghdadi boasted about his fighters' attacks on a mighty nation that brags about its "Star Wars" strategic program. He also bragged about militants' presence in various wilayat ("provinces") including: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Central and Western Africa, East Asia, and North Africa, mainly in Tunisia and Libya.

Al-Baghdadi hailed the steadfastness of the his men, the "soldiers of the Caliphate," in the face of "the largest Crusader [Westerb] and atheist campaign against the Muslim nation that seeks to distort it and force it to abandon its religion and worship a god other than its creator." "This campaign is spearheaded by the tawaghit [tyrant rulers] of Al-Salul [a derogatory term for the Saudi royal family] and apostate sheikhs in the Sahel who are submissive to the Crusaders," he added.

Speaking to ISIS fighters, he urged them to be "torches of guidance" and embrace Muslims and guide and lead them to "pure monotheism." He also instructed them to remind Muslims that there is "no way to remove tawaghit [tyrant rulers] except through the way revealed by Allah in His book, that is, jihad for His sake. [Anything] other than that will be a delusion and illusory." "In Egypt's Rabi'ah [Square], Palestine's return [protests], Sudan's military [rule], Libya's Haftar and Al-Sarraj, Yemen's legitimacy and putschists, people are being killed and eradicated in a way that was not sanctioned by Allah and taken by the believers for patriotism and democracy," he added. "The goal of our jihad is to turn people away from worshiping people and toward worshiping the creator of people and from the injustice of multiple religions to the justice of Islam and from the prison of this world to the freedom of this world and the hereafter."

Al-Baghdadi called on adherents to accept the "repentance" of those who have repented and embrace them, asking adherents to teach them the cause behind ISIS's struggle and the need to support their religion and the nation so they would inform others. He also instructed them to redouble efforts inĀ  all levels, warned them of internal strife, and called on them to fear Allah and avoid and injustice and oppression.

Calling for using force to release of ISIS captives held in prisons and refugee camps, he said: "As for the worst and most important matter, the prisons, the prisons, Oh soldiers of the caliphate. Your brothers and sisters; do your utmost to free them and tear down the walls besieging them." He then urged followers to target "their butchers: interrogators and investigating judges and the filthy who harm them... How can a Muslim live comfortably when Muslim women are displaced and held in prisons of humiliation under the dominance of the Crusaders and their stooges, including Safavid Rafidites [i.e., Shi'ites], criminal atheists, and apostate tyrant rulers in various parts of the world?"

Addressing ISIS female and male captives, he urged them to remain steadfast and patience and fear Allah and He will make for them a way out, saying: "Your brothers have not and will never forget to avenge you."

Al-Baghdadi concluded by telling the "soldiers and supporters of the Caliphate everywhere" to avoid deviance and asked Allah to release the captives and grant ISIS victory over infidels.

[1] News Agency, September 16, 2019.

[2] A partial Qur'anic verse (Quran 9:105) "And say, 'Do [as you will], for Allah will see your deeds, and [so, will] His Messenger and the believers. And you will be returned to the Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, and He will inform you of what you used to do."

[3] In jihadi rhetoric, the word rum, ("Rome") often refers to the Byzantine Empire or to the Christian West.