Advertisement

ISIS leader al-Baghdadi appears to call for attacks on Canada in new audio recording

Click to play video 'ISIS claims responsibility for Danforth shooting, provides no evidence' ISIS claims responsibility for Danforth shooting, provides no evidence
WATCH: ISIS claims responsibility for Danforth shooting, provides no evidence – Jul 25, 2018

The leader of the Islamic State group has called for attacks on Canada and other Western countries in a new audio recording, the first attributed to him in nearly a year.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi urged the group’s followers to respond to recent defeats by carrying out bombings, stabbings and vehicular attacks in his purported 55-minute speech titled “Give Glad Tidings to the Steadfast,” which was published by the group’s media wing on Wednesday.

“For the Mujahideen (holy warriors) the scale of victory or defeat is not dependent on a city or town being stolen or subject to that who has aerial superiority, intercontinental missiles or smart bombs,” al-Baghdadi said in the Arabic recording.

READ MORE: Online-inspired extremists are ‘the greatest terrorist threat,’ declassified CSIS document says

The Islamic State, which until last year controlled large swathes of Syria and Iraq, has since been driven into the desert by successive defeats in offensives by international allies in both countries.

Story continues below advertisement

But al-Baghdadi called on fighters to “trust in God’s promise and His victory,” stating that “with hardship comes relief and a way out.”

WATCH: Islamic State kills dozens of people in southwest Syria

Click to play video 'Islamic State kills dozens of people in southwest Syria' Islamic State kills dozens of people in southwest Syria
Islamic State kills dozens of people in southwest Syria – Jul 25, 2018

He also suggested that the group was behind recent attacks in Canada and Europe, and congratulated who he described as the “striking lions” who carried them out.

ISIS previously claimed responsibility for the July 22 shooting on Toronto’s Danforth Avenue, which left two dead and 13 wounded. Canadian police said they haven’t found any evidence to suggest a terror link in the mass shooting.

READ MORE: Anti-Islam protester thrown into fountain at Danforth shooting memorial in Toronto

The group first called for terrorist attacks in Canada in September 2014, in a statement by spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani.

Story continues below advertisement

The following month, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was killed in a shooting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, while warrant officer Patrice Vincent died from injuries sustained in a vehicle ramming attack in Saint-Jean-sur-Richeliu, Que.

WATCH: Canadians targeted overseas in operation against ISIS

Click to play video 'Exclusive: Canadians targeted overseas in operation against ISIS' Exclusive: Canadians targeted overseas in operation against ISIS
Exclusive: Canadians targeted overseas in operation against ISIS – May 28, 2018

In the Wednesday recording, al-Baghdadi urged Islamic State supporters to “carry out the kind of strikes that terrorize the hearts and send the brains flying,” encouraging them to use guns, knives and bombs while reminding them to “not ignore running over people on the roads,” according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

He also instructed Islamic State fighters around the world — from Somalia, Libya and Yemen to Kashmir and the Caucasus  to focus on their battles rather than quarrel over leadership.

Also in his crosshairs were the governments of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan, with al-Baghdadi calling on the citizens of those countries to rise up and overthrow their rulers.

Story continues below advertisement

WATCH: Saudi TV falsely accuses Canada of ‘freedom of opinion’ arrests

Click to play video 'Saudi TV falsely accuses Canada of ‘freedom of opinion’ arrests' Saudi TV falsely accuses Canada of ‘freedom of opinion’ arrests
Saudi TV falsely accuses Canada of ‘freedom of opinion’ arrests – Aug 14, 2018

A-Baghdadi also used the recording to congratulate Muslims on the occasion of the Islamic holiday of Eid-al-Adha, and mentioned recent events including U.S. tariffs on Turkey and the row between Istanbul and Washington over the release of imprisoned pastor Andrew Brunson.

He also addressed Russia, North Korea and Iran pushing back against U.S. sanctions, which he said was “an intended expression of disrespect based on what they observe as [American] weakness,” according to the MEMRI translation.

READ MORE: U.S. set deadline for Turkey to release pastor, says Turkish president

The timing of those events means that reports of al-Baghdadi’s death would be disproven if the voice on the recording is confirmed to be his.

Story continues below advertisement

The reclusive cleric has frequently been reported killed since 2014, when he declared himself the leader of all Muslims after the Islamic State’s capture of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

In May last year, the Russian military said it was looking into whether he was killed in an airstrike targeting a meeting of top Islamic State figures near Raqqa, the Syrian city that the Islamic State claimed as its capital.

However, Russia admitted it was unable to confirm al-Baghdadi’s death.

WATCH: Russia verifying whether it killed Islamic State leader al-Baghdadi in airstrike

Click to play video 'Russia verifying whether it killed Islamic State leader al-Baghdadi in airstrike' Russia verifying whether it killed Islamic State leader al-Baghdadi in airstrike
Russia verifying whether it killed Islamic State leader al-Baghdadi in airstrike – Jun 16, 2017

The Iraq-born extremist leader hasn’t been seen in public since a 2014 speech in Mosul, but is believed to be hiding in the Iraqi-Syrian border region after losing all the cities and towns of his self-proclaimed caliphate.

Story continues below advertisement

His son was killed by Russian airstrikes in Syria in July according to the Islamic State’s news channel.

READ MORE: Son of Islamic State leader al-Baghdadi killed in Syria, according to IS news channel

Wednesday’s recording was al-Baghdadi’s first since Sept. 28, 2017.

Its title appears to be borrowed from a verse in the Qur’an which states that the Prophet Muhammad “gives glad tidings” to those who persevere in the face of difficulties, according to the book An Enlightening Commentary into the Light of the Holy Qur’an.

— With files from Reuters