IS releases audio of chief Baghdadi after death rumours

The Islamic State group released a defiant audio recording Thursday it said was of chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, after air strikes on jihadist leaders in Iraq sparked rumours he had been wounded or killed. In the 17-minute message, the man purported to be Baghdadi vowed that IS, which has overrun swathes of Iraq and Syria, will continue to expand despite international air strikes, and that its opponents will be drawn into a ground war. Its march will not stop and it will continue to expand,” said the man in the recording, whose voice sounded like Baghdadi’s but whose identity could not be independently confirmed. US President Barack Obama has announced plans to double the number of US military personnel in Iraq to up to 3,100 to help advise and train Baghdad’s forces — a move the man in the audio recording said was the start of the ground war between the two sides.

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