The Islamic State on Thursday released an audio message purportedly recorded by leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who called on Muslims around the world to join the terror group’s fight in Syria and Iraq. The speaker says there is no excuse for Muslims not to join the battle against “infidels,” declaring, “Islam was never a religion of peace. Islam is the religion of fighting.”
Multiple news sources reported that Baghdadi, in fact, appears to be the speaker, which would mark the first time he has been publicly heard from in months. Previous reports indicated that he had been wounded — or even killed — by a coalition air strike.
The Islamic State drew new attention this week as its forces drew closer to the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, fueling fears that the group could destroy the city’s treasured antiquities.