ISIS issues audio of Baghdadi calling supporters to join him

Audio issued after reports of Baghdadi being incapacitated

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Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) issued an audio recording on Thursday that it said was by its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, calling on supporters around the world to join the fight in Syria and Iraq or to take up arms wherever they live.

It was Baghdadi’s first message since a number of media reports said that he was wounded earlier this year in Iraq. Some said that he was no longer running the group and others suggested he had even died.

In the recording, issued by the group’s al-Furqan media outlet and posted on several websites, a voice sounding like Baghdadi’s says: “There is no excuse for any Muslim not to migrate to the Islamic State ...

“Joining (its fight) is a duty on every Muslim. We are calling on you either join or carry weapons (to fight) wherever you are.”

Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the audio or its date.

The group has faced military setbacks in Iraq when Iraqi forces including Shiite paramilitaries retook the city of Tikrit in the first big counter-offensive since ISIS rapidly seized swathes of territory last year.

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