On Thursday, the Islamic State issued a recording of their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whom British and Russian monitoring agents once believed to be dead.
Using the messaging app Telegram, the Islamic State issued a 46 minute-long audio message, with the opening narration, "May Allah protect him," as a way to seemingly prove that the leader was still alive and encourage ISIS troops to continue fighting (the group recently took a beating and lost Mosul, their symbolic birthplace).
Although it is unclear when the recording was made, the audio marks the first time since last November that the public heard al-Baghdadi speak.
According to audio translations provided by the SITE Intelligence Group, al-Baghdadi states, "America, Europe, and Russia are living in a state of terror," although accounts from the Department of Defense show that it is actually ISIS troops in Iraq and Syria who are living in terror, as vehicles, resources, and fighting positions were recently crushed by the United States and coalition military forces in both Iraq and Raqqa, Syria.
Al-Baghdadi's living status remains unknown, despite the arrival of his "new" audio message. However, American military officials such as Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend believe that he is still alive.