Baku, December 27, AZERTAC
The leader of the self-declared Islamic State issued a defiant message to the West, warning “crusaders” not to dare fight on his turf, according to The Telegraph.
In a rare public statement - his first in seven months - Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi said Western countries had "learned from" previous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Crusaders and Jews don't dare to come on the ground because they were defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said in a 23-minute long audio message released through an Isil-run internet account.
The message - dubbed an "alternative Christmas broadcast" on social media - appeared to be an effort to rally Isil followers against the growing number of enemies arrayed against them.
The leader, who has rarely been pictured and has not been heard from since he was believed to have been injured in an airstrike by Iraqi forces in October, Russian or US-led airstrikes had failed to weaken the group, which was only "expanding and getting stronger".
"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 inten