BEIRUT -- The Islamic State group has released a new audio message, purportedly of its shadowy leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the first such recording to emerge in almost a year.
In the audio, the speaker urges followers to "persevere" and continue fighting the group's enemies everywhere. The 54-minute audio, titled "Give Glad Tidings to the Patient," was released by the extremist group's central media arm, al-Furqan Foundation, late Wednesday.
The US-led military coalition fighting the war on IS said it could not yet verify it was al-Baghdadi's voice on the recording, or even whether he was still alive.
Col. Sean Ryan, a military spokesman, said al-Baghdadi has been "irrelevant for a long time" but remains a priority target in the war on the group.