Russia: confirmed to be dead IS leader, Release a soundtrack.

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Islamic State militants have released what appears to be an audio recording of their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

A speaker who sounds like the IS leader seems to refer to recent North Korean threats against Japan and the US.

He also talks of battles for IS strongholds like Mosul, which was regained by Iraqi forces in July.

The last time he appeared was to preach at the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul after IS overran the city and a “caliphate” was proclaimed.

The 46-minute recording was posted by a website with links to the group and is the first such speech to appear since November.

As well as Mosul, the speaker refers to battles in Raqqa and Hama in Syria, and Sirte in Libya, saying the bloodshed would not be in vain. He also talks of Russian-brokered peace talks on Syria. Much of the tape consists of religious references.

But the group has been on the backfoot in both Syria and Iraq this year, losing significant amounts of territory including key supply routes.

In the past year, numerous sources have claimed Baghdadi is dead. These include Turkish officials who say they have received persistent reports he is dead, the Russian Defence Ministry, which previously claimed it killed him, and also the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which said it had spoken to senior Isis leaders
However, there has never been confirmation from Isis official news outlet Amaq, which is what most intelligence services are waiting for.
sources – BBc and the independent

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