The leader of ISIS Emir Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has resurfaced in a 55-minute audio address distributed on official ISIS social media accounts. The message is the first apparent communication of the terror boss in close to a year. The core message to his followers was for them to “persevere” and continue fighting the group’s enemies everywhere.
The audio being the first communication in over eleven months could be a changing point in the motivation of ISIS on a global scale. Al-Baghdadi’s last audio message was on Sept. 28, 2017, in which he called on his followers to burn their enemies everywhere and target media centers of the infidels. The whereabouts of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the question of whether he is dead or alive have been a continuing source of mystery and confusion. The group has lost around 90 percent of lands it once controlled in Iraq and Syria where the group declared a caliphate in June 2014.
The call for perseverance and patience to his followers has been interpreted as a motivational summon for his followers as they wait for an unveiling of an elaborate plan that could reinvigorate the terror organization. Baghdadi further cajoled other factions of ISIS in Africa, Asia, Middle East, Europe and Americas to be steadfast in their resolve to further the caliphate’s agenda. The message contradicts previously stating that Baghdadi was killed in airstrikes in 2017. Thus, counterterrorism campaigns across the globe have been urged to be more vigilant to preempt and stop attacks inspired by the message from Baghdadi.