Last Updated Sep 28, 2017 2:20 PM EDT
CAIRO — The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, on Thursday released what it said was a new audio recording of its top leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in which he urged followers in the West to specifically target media outlets and cultural hubs.
“Intensify your strikes, one after the next … and make the media centers of the infidels and their intellectual battlefields amongst your targets,” Baghdadi purportedly said. “Keep up your jihad and blessed operations … and don’t let the crusaders and the apostates enjoy peace and tranquility in their own homes while your brethren endure the bombardment, the killing and destruction.”
He also vowed to continue fighting and lavished praise on his jihadis despite their loss of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
Mosul was liberated from ISIS extremists in July after a months-long operation by Iraqi forces, backed by the U.S.-led coalition.
The recording by al-Baghdadi was released by the ISIS-run al-Furqan outlet. The voice in the over 46-minute-long audio sounded much like previous recordings of the reclusive ISIS leader, who has only appeared in public once.
The last previous purported message from al-Baghdadi was released in November, also an audio recording.
The voice in the latest recording also refers to North Korea‘s nuclear threats against the U.S. and Japan.
Much controversy surrounds the shadowy cleric who has been running ISIS since the terror group emerged from al Qaeda in Iraq.
Russian officials said in June there was a “high probability” that al-Baghdadi had died in a Russian airstrike on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the extremist group. But U.S. officials later said they believed he was still alive.
ISIS has suffered a number of major setbacks in Iraq and Syria in recent months. At the peak of its territorial gains, ISIS controlled about a third of both Syria and…