U.S. intelligence is analyzing, but has not been able to confirm the authenticity of an audiotape that purports to be the first message by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi since the shadowy figure first appeared on camera in July and since he was rumored to have been wounded days ago.
The message was released by an ISIS-linked media group today and in it, a man identified as al-Baghdadi references President Obama’s Friday announcement that the U.S. will send 1,500 additional troops to Iraq to advise and support the fight against the terror group there, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks jihadi media.
Al-Baghdadi reportedly says that the weeks of coalition airstrikes against ISIS “have not prevented its advance, nor weakened its resolve.”
Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters today the State Department could not confirm the authenticity of the tape, but said, "clearly the brutality, the rhetoric, the efforts to incite by any leaders of [ISIS] is not a new phenomenon."
A U.S. intelligence official told ABC News, "We are analyzing the audio to determine whether it's authentic."
The audio also comes days after Iraqi officials said al-Baghdadi had been injured in an airstrike –- a claim U.S. officials could not confirm. Psaki said today she did not have any new information about al-Baghdadi's condition.
Al-Baghdadi, also known as Abu Du'a, is wanted by the U.S. government and there is a $10 million reward offered for information leading to his capture.