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IS Leader Mocks Saudi-Led Alliance In New Audio

The leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, addresses Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul, in July 2014.

The leader of the Islamic State militant group seems to claim in a new audio recording that his self-styled "caliphate" is thriving despite the international campaign against it.

In the 24-minute audio released December 26, a man purported to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said air strikes by the U.S.-led coalition, as well as Russian jets and missiles, have only increased his group's resolve.

The voice is heard criticizing the recently announced Saudi-led Islamic military coalition against terrorism.

He also taunts the United States for not sending in ground troops to fight his militants.

The alleged message by the IS chief would be al-Baghdadi's first since May, and comes amid battlefield setbacks for the radical fighters who control vast territory in Syria and Iraq.

Al-Baghdadi has been reported injured and even killed several times in fighting, apparently incorrectly.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters

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