IS group releases audio message purportedly from leader

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Islamic State's Baghdadi Calls on Supporters

BEIRUT (AP) -- The Islamic State group on Thursday released an audio message purportedly from its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has not been seen or heard from in months.

The 35-minute audio message posted on militant websites features a voice that sounds like al-Baghdadi's exhorting all Muslims to take up arms and fight on behalf of the group's self-styled caliphate. The speaker references the Saudi-led air campaign against Shiite rebels in Yemen, which began on March 26, and harshly criticizes the Saudi royal family.

"Islam was never a religion of peace. Islam is the religion of fighting," he said. "No one should believe that the war that we are waging is the war of the Islamic State. It is the war of all Muslims, but the Islamic State is spearheading it. It is the war of Muslims against infidels."

"O Muslims go to war everywhere. It is the duty of every Muslim," the speaker said.

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IS group releases audio message purportedly from leader
ISIS released a new video Tuesday purporting to show a child soldier (face blurred out here) killing a Palestinian man accused of being a spy for Israeli intelligence.
The media arm of Islamic State released a video Tuesday purporting to show a young boy killing an Israeli Arab accused of being a spy.ISIS says the man executed in the video, who is identified as Mohamed Said Ismail Musallam, was working Israel's intelligence agency Mossad. The highly produced video, which is about 13 minutes long, shows 19-year-old Musallam dressed in an orange jumpsuit and talking about how he was recruited by Israeli intelligence.
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - MARCH 11: Father of 19-year-old Muhammad Musallam, an Israeli Arab executed by Islamic State (Isis) in Syria sits in his home on March 11, 2015 in East Jerusalem, Israel. Muhammads family and the Israeli officels denied that he was an Israeli spy. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)
The mother of Arab-Israeli Mohammed Musallam (portrait) cries at the family's home in the East Jerusalem Jewish settlement of Neve-Yaacov on March 10, 2015 after the Islamic State (IS) released a video purportedly showing a young boy executing her son, who IS claimed infiltrated the group in Syria to spy for the Jewish state. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - MARCH 11: A picture of 19-year-old Muhammad Musallam, an Israeli Arab executed by Islamic State (Isis) in Syria is displeyd at the family's home on March 11, 2015 in East Jerusalem, Israel. Muhammads family and the Israeli officels denied that he was an Israeli spy. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)
The parents of Arab-Israeli Mohammed Musallam (portrait) react at the family's home in the East Jerusalem Jewish settlement of Neve-Yaacov on March 10, 2015 after the Islamic State (IS) released a video purportedly showing a young boy executing their son, who IS claimed infiltrated the group in Syria to spy for the Jewish state. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)
The parents of Arab-Israeli Mohammed Musallam (portrait) react at the family's home in the East Jerusalem Jewish settlement of Neve-Yaacov on March 10, 2015 after the Islamic State (IS) released a video purportedly showing a young boy executing their son, who IS claimed infiltrated the group in Syria to spy for the Jewish state. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - MARCH 11: Mother of 19-year-old Muhammad Musallam, an Israeli Arab executed by Islamic State (Isis) in Syria sits in her home on March 11, 2015 in East Jerusalem, Israel. Muhammads family and the Israeli officels denied that he was an Israeli spy. (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images)
KIRKUK, IRAQ - MARCH 10 : Kurdish Peshmerga forces are seen with anti-tank warfares in Tel Al Werd village 25 km far from Mulla Abdullah district, south of Kirkuk as they guard the area on March 10, 2015 during the ongoing clashes between Daesh (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) militants in Iraq. (Photo by Emrah Yorulmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A video purporting to show a mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, February 15, 2015 by militants affiliated to the ISIS terrorists.

Video provided by: Alhayat

A video purporting to show a mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, February 15, 2015 by militants affiliated to the ISIS terrorists.

Video provided by: Alhayat

A video purporting to show a mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, February 15, 2015 by militants affiliated to the ISIS terrorists.

Video provided by: Alhayat

A video purporting to show a mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, February 15, 2015 by militants affiliated to the ISIS terrorists.

Video provided by: Alhayat

A video purporting to show a mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, February 15, 2015 by militants affiliated to the ISIS terrorists.

Video provided by: Alhayat

A video purporting to show a mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, February 15, 2015 by militants affiliated to the ISIS terrorists.

Video provided by: Alhayat

A video purporting to show a mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, February 15, 2015 by militants affiliated to the ISIS terrorists.

Video provided by: Alhayat

A video purporting to show a mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, February 15, 2015 by militants affiliated to the ISIS terrorists.

Video provided by: Alhayat

A video purporting to show a mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, February 15, 2015 by militants affiliated to the ISIS terrorists.

Video provided by: Alhayat

A video purporting to show a mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, February 15, 2015 by militants affiliated to the ISIS terrorists.

Video provided by: Alhayat

A video purporting to show a mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, February 15, 2015 by militants affiliated to the ISIS terrorists.

Video provided by: Alhayat

A video purporting to show a mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, February 15, 2015 by militants affiliated to the ISIS terrorists.

Video provided by: Alhayat

A video purporting to show a mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, February 15, 2015 by militants affiliated to the ISIS terrorists.

Video provided by: Alhayat

A video purporting to show a mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, February 15, 2015 by militants affiliated to the ISIS terrorists.

Video provided by: Alhayat

A video purporting to show a mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, February 15, 2015 by militants affiliated to the ISIS terrorists.

Video provided by: Alhayat

A video purporting to show a mass beheading of Coptic Christian hostages was released Sunday, February 15, 2015 by militants affiliated to the ISIS terrorists.

Video provided by: Alhayat
FILE - In this Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 file photo, an Assyrian man with a red cross painted on his forehead holds a banner as he walks during a protest of several hundred people in solidarity with Christians abducted in Syria and Iraq, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon. Activists said on Saturday, March. 7, 2015, that Islamic State militants have attacked a string of predominantly Christian villages in northeastern Syria, touching off heavy clashes with Kurdish militiamen and their local allies. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)
Members of a Shiite group, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, or League of the Righteous, flash victory signs during a funeral procession for six of their comrades who killed in Tikrit fighting Islamic militants, in Najaf, 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, March 5, 2015. Iranian-backed Shiite militias and Sunni tribes have joined Iraq's military in a major operation to retake Tikrit from the Islamic State group, while the U.S. led coalition has remained on the sidelines. (AP Photo/Jaber al-Helo)
DERNA, LIBYA - FEBRUARY 16: Destroyed buildings seen after Egypt's army warplanes carried out airstrikes in neighboring Libya against targets belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant group on February 16, 2015 in Derna, Libya. (Photo by Jawhar Ali/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
DERNA, LIBYA - FEBRUARY 16: Destroyed car by debris of a building seen after Egypt's army warplanes carried out airstrikes in neighboring Libya against targets belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant group on February 16, 2015 in Derna, Libya. (Photo by Jawhar Ali/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
An Egyptian journalist holds a card with Arabic that reads, "we are not afraid from ISIS terrorism," during a protest for Christians who were killed in Libya, at the journalists syndicate in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
Iraqi fighters of the government-controlled Popular Mobilisation units sit waiting as they take part in a military operation to take control of Tikrit, 160 kms north of Baghdad, from jihadists from the Islamic state (IS) group, on March 11 2015. The city, which is the home town of former president Saddam Hussein, is the toughest target for the government troops and allied militias that started winning back lost ground last year. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, left, confers with his French counterpart, Gen. Pierre de Villiers, aboard the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the Persian Gulf on Sunday, March 8, 2015. Dempsey says some Iraqi army units in line for U.S.-led training to fight the Islamic State group are showing up ill-prepared. (AP Photo/Bob Burns)
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It was not immediately possible to verify whether the voice was al-Baghdadi's.

In another indication the message was recorded recently, the speaker appears to refer to the thousands of people who fled Ramadi last month as the Islamic State group advanced on the town in Iraq's western Anbar province.

"If some of your relatives are fighting against the religion of God and are loyal to Rawafid and Crusaders we will not hurt you," he said using a derogatory term to refer to Shiites. He called on Sunni members of the Iraqi police and army to repent because "when the hands of the mujahideen get you no repentance will be accepted."

He praised fighters who joined the group in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Algeria and Tunisia. He welcomed pledges of allegiance from Islamic State supporters in Yemen, Afghanistan and West Africa.

The last audio message purportedly from al-Baghdadi came in November, days after Iraqi officials said he was wounded in an airstrike on an Iraqi town near the Syrian border. Media reports have also said he was severely wounded. The audio message was not accompanied by photos or video.

Al-Baghdadi has only appeared in public once, in a video showing him delivering a Friday sermon in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul last July, shortly after it was captured by his group. The IS group controls much of northern Iraq and northern and eastern Syria, and has established a self-styled caliphate governed by a harsh and violent interpretation of Islamic law.

The 35-minute audio message, which quoted several verses from the Quran, was released with written English, Russian, Turkish, French and German translations.

In the latest message, al-Baghdadi blasted Arab rulers, calling them "guarding dogs" and saying the Yemen war will lead to the end of the Saudi royal family's rule.

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