ISIS releases audio purportedly of al-Baghdadi

Story highlights

(CNN)ISIS released an audio statement Thursday purportedly made by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the top leader of the militant Islamist organization.

For weeks, reports have circulatedthat al-Baghdadi was seriously injured in an airstrike in March.

If authentic, the audio statement might confirm he's still in control of ISIS. CNN has not independently confirmed the voice belongs to al-Baghdadi.

His health is important now that Iraqi authorities have said that Abu Alaa al-Afari, al-Baghadi's top deputy, was recently killed in an airstrike.

Al-Baghdadi rarely makes media pronouncements.

In November 2014, a 17-minute audio was released on an ISIS social media site in which he purportedly mocked the U.S.-led coalition to destroy ISIS as "terrified, weak and powerless."

That audio was released a few days after Iraqi officials said al-Baghadi had been wounded in an air strike -- a claim the United States could not confirm at the time.

CNN could not confirm the voice on that recording belonged to al-Baghdadi, but Laith Alkhouri, a senior analyst at Flashpoint Partners, a U.S. outfit that tracks jihadist websites, said analysts believe the audio is authentic.


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