The spokesman of the Islamic State emerged from almost six months of silence on Monday to mock America’s assertion of getting defeated the group and to name for retaliation over final week’s mosque assaults in New Zealand.
“The scenes of the massacres within the two mosques ought to get up those that had been fooled, and may incite the supporters of the caliphates to avenge their faith,” the spokesman, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, stated in a 44-minute audio recording.
Mr. al-Muhajir portrayed the shootings by a white extremist, which killed 50 Muslims as they prayed within the metropolis of Christchurch, as an extension of the marketing campaign in opposition to the Islamic State. He likened the mosque assaults to the weekslong battle raging within the final village beneath ISIS management in Syria.
“Right here is Baghuz in Syria, the place Muslims are burned to demise and are bombed by all recognized and unknown weapons of mass destruction,” he stated, portray the individuals within the city as common Muslims when in actual fact coalition officers imagine that almost all of them are both Islamic State fighters or their wives and kids.
All through his speech, Mr. al-Muhajir belittled the White Home’s declare of victory over the terrorist group, calling it a “state of confusion and contradiction that make it not possible for any observer to know what is supposed by the phrase ‘victory.’”
Whereas the Islamic State has misplaced all however a sliver of the huge territory it as soon as managed in Iraq and Syria, army officers say the group stays a potent risk.
Mr. al-Muhajir — the identify is an invention, and his true id is unknown — is a faceless however vital determine contained in the terrorist group. He’s not recognized to have ever appeared in images or within the group’s quite a few movies, and nearly nothing is understood about his private biography.
In a testomony to the safety precautions he takes, he launched simply two audio statements in 2018, with the final one, showing in September, lower than 4 minutes lengthy. The spokesman’s prolonged absences — very similar to these of the group’s chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — have fueled rumors of his demise.
Past its references to current occasions, what’s notable in regards to the recording — which was launched by the group on the Telegram cellular messaging app — are its quite a few mentions of in-the-weeds particulars concerning ISIS-related present occasions.
Mr. al-Muhajir refers to President Trump’s declare to not know Brett McGurk, the American particular envoy within the combat in opposition to the Islamic State, who resigned in protest over Mr. Trump’s determination to tug American troops from Syria.
As anti-ISIS forces pursue Mr. al-Muhajir and different senior members of the militant group, it’s assumed that they keep away from detection by shunning electronics, particularly cellphones, and limiting contact with couriers, whose actions might be tracked. That raises a lot of questions: How did he know in regards to the slaughter of Muslims in New Zealand? Is he hunkered down in a home in Iraq or Syria and counting on native TV protection? Did one in all his aides deliver him the information?
His detailed data of present occasions is obvious as he makes a jab at Mr. Trump’s hasty go to to Iraq in December, his first to see troops stationed in a fight zone. On the time, the president referred to as it “unhappy” that he needed to take such intensive safety measures to make the journey even after the USA had spent $7 trillion attempting to stabilize the Center East.
Mr. al-Muhajir refers back to the $7 trillion, including: “How unusual for a victor who can’t even announce publicly an official go to to a rustic he claims to be bringing peace and stability to. He may solely come like a frightened and cowardly thief.”
Among the many revelations within the recording is that Mr. al-Baghdadi, the group’s chief, remains to be alive, at the least based on the spokesman. Though Mr. al-Baghdadi has been declared lifeless a number of instances, most lately by Russia after an airstrike in Syria, American officers have lengthy maintained that he’s most certainly nonetheless residing.
Mr. al-Muhajir closes the recording by referring to Mr. al-Baghdadi utilizing an honorific, “Might God protect him,” that’s employed when an individual remains to be alive.
Within the remaining passage of his speech, the spokesman gives a tip from Mr. al-Baghdadi, suggesting he has spoken to him: “A message of recommendation from the caliph of the believers concerning communication units: Watch out, cautious of communication units — even when it slows down work from two days to seven days.”