Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Saturday threatened Israel, saying the extremist group had not forgotten about the Jews. The militant group has been concentrating on Iraq and Syria, while also claiming responsibility for the downing of a Russian airliner over Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris.
Ynetnews reported al-Baghdadi released an audio recording through Twitter, saying the terrorist group formerly known as either ISIL or ISIS had not forgotten about Palestine:
"The Jews thought we forgot Palestine and that they had distracted us from it. Not at all, Jews. We did not forget Palestine for a moment. With the help of Allah, we will not forget it. … The pioneers of the jihadist fighters will surround you on a day that you think is distant and we know is close. We are getting closer every day."
Al-Baghdadi's threat was delivered as Iraqi troops moved closer to ousting Islamic State group fighters from their last remaining stronghold in Ramadi and Syrian rebels are seeking safe passage out of Damascus. It also came amid what has been dubbed the "stabbing intifada" in Israel and the West Bank that has left dozens of Israelis and scores of Palestinians dead or wounded.
Al-Baghdadi also denied Russian airstrikes had weakened the Islamic State group, the Jerusalem Post reported.
"Be confident that God will grant victory to those who worship him, and hear the good news that our state is doing well. The more intense the war against it, the purer it becomes and the tougher it gets," al-Baghdadi said.
Al-Baghdadi's voice is believed to be featured on a recording released in May that urged all Muslims to migrate to territory controlled by the Islamic State group, saying there is "no excuse" for Muslims to live elsewhere. In that message, he reportedly threatened the rulers of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, telling them, "Their end is near."
The Jerusalem Post said neither recording has been verified independently.