Islamic State leader calls for jihad in audio message

The leader of the Islamic State, formerly Isis, has released the first audiotape calling for jihad since the group renamed. The group is currently battling Iraqi forces across large parts of the country.

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ISIS urges 'march to Baghdad, Karbala and Najaf'

A vehicle belonging to the Iraqi security forces is left on a road at a checkpoint in east Mosul. Credit: Reuters\Stringer

Audio has been released by intelligence sources of a spokesman from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant rebel group boasting of recent conquests in northern Iraq and urging fighters to march on Baghdad and other key cities in the country.

In the clip, recorded on an unknown date, Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani, a spokesman for ISIS thanks Allah for the groups recent conquest and says:

"March to Baghdad al-Rashid, the Baghdad of the Caliphate. We have a score to settle...Be certain of the victory of Allah as long as you fear Him."

Al-Adnani continues in the broadcast to urge ISIS members to push on through Baghdad and into Karbala and Najaf - areas of holy significance for Shi'ite muslims.

He also mocks Iraq Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki as being "the foolish one" and calls him an "underwear salesman" - a reference to al-Maliki's time in exile during the Saddam regime.

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