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OTTAWA – Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney says a new Islamic State group (ISIS) recording that threatens Canada reaffirms the “need for vigilance” against terrorist threats.
In a statement released to Global News, Blaney says Canada remains committed to doing “what is necessary” to protect our nation and citizens.
“We will not overreact in response to the recent terrorist attacks, but it is time that we stop underreacting to the threats against us,” the statement says.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, said in an audio recording released Thursday the group will fight to the last man.
He specifically singles out the United States and its allies Europe, Australia and Canada as “stumbling between fear, weakness, inability, and failure.”
“America and its allies are terrified, weak, powerless,” he says, also condemning the Jews who “covertly and stealthily participate in this crusade.”
On Twitter, Blaney also referenced a new anti-terrorism bill that would give the Canadian Security Intelligence Service more latitude to obtain a court-ordered warrant authorizing security investigations abroad. It also seeks to strengthen protection of intelligence sources.
Bakr al-Baghdadi’s statement was posted online six days after Iraqi officials told The Associated Press that he was wounded in an airstrike in Iraq. It was not clear whether the recording was made before or after the incident.
In the 17-minute recording, al-Baghdadi vowed to fight the “crusader campaign” to the bitter end.
“God has ordered us to fight,” he said. “For that reason the soldiers of the Islamic State are fighting… they will never leave fighting, even if only one soldier remains. They will never leave fighting, because they reject humiliation.”
Jez Littlewood, an assistant professor of international affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa, says the video serves several purposes, including as a call to arms and a sign that Bakr al-Baghdadi is still very possibly alive.
“It’s quite clear that the Islamic State and its propaganda is appealing to a number of radical violent groups,” Littlewood said.
“It’s not just a proto-state. It’s equally becoming a movement and a social movement.”
However, whether such a recording can be tied to recent incidents in Canada – including the murders of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo by so-called radicals, remains to be seen.
“We don’t want to overreact to quite isolated and low-level incidents. That’s not to discount clearly the impact on the families of those killed,” Littlewood said.
The success of Canada’s mission in the coalition bombing campaign against ISIS is also unknown.
“We know from history and past experience, closing down terrorist groups takes a long long time. And even degrading them takes a substantial effort,” he said.
The recording, released on social media networks, appeared authentic, and the voice appeared to match that in previous recordings released by the group.
The self-styled caliph called on Muslims to wage holy war everywhere, and to attack and kill “apostates” in Saudi Arabia and Yemen specifically. An earlier audio recording from al-Baghdadi is believed to have inspired militants in Algeria to kill and behead a French national.
with files from the Canadian Press and the Associated Press
Full Statement from Canada’s Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness on ISIL Threat:
The statement released by ISIL in which terrorists directly threaten violence against Canada confirms the need for vigilance against the global terror threat.
I am proud of the Canadian Forces for their concerted efforts to degrade ISIL and maintain the security of Canadians.
Our Conservative Government is committed to safeguarding Canada from terrorism by strengthening security agencies in surveillance, detention, and arrest. We are working diligently to strengthen the tools available to the law enforcement community. The Protection of Canada from Terrorists Act is just the first step in our efforts to do that.
We will not overreact in response to the recent terrorist attacks, but it is time that we stop underreacting to the threats against us.
We remain committed to doing what is necessary to protect our nation and its citizens.