Countering rumors that he was seriously wounded or dead, the leader of the Islamic State militant group issued a new call to arms on Thursday in a 17-minute speech, belittling President Obama’s plan to send more soldiers to Iraq and exhorting disciples to “erupt volcanoes of jihad everywhere.”
The speech by the leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was distributed online by the Islamic State with Arabic, English and Russian transcripts, and was first reported by the SITE Intelligence Group, a jihadist monitoring organization.
Mr. Baghdadi’s speech, filled with impassioned pleas for Muslims throughout the Middle East to rise up against “the agents of the Jews and crusaders, their slaves, tails and dogs,” was the first indication that he had not been hurt or killed in an American airstrike carried out on Saturday in northwestern Iraq.
It was not clear precisely when the tape was produced. But it was distributed on the same day that top American military officials were testifying in Congress about the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and the threat it poses.
Mr. Baghdadi’s militants have seized large areas of Syria and Iraq and created a major new confrontation with Western powers, led by the United States.
He opened the speech by denouncing Mr. Obama’s plan, announced on Friday, to deploy 1,500 additional soldiers to Iraq in coming months as advisers to the Iraqi armed forces fighting Islamic State militants, doubling the number previously assigned.
“Here is Obama, who has ordered the deployment of 1,500 additional soldiers under the claim that they are advisers because the crusaders’ airstrikes and constant bombardment — day and night — upon the position of the Islamic State have not prevented its advance, nor weakened its resolve,” Mr. Baghdadi said in the audiotape.
Using a mix of anti-Semitic and other hateful language, he vowed to expand the Islamic State’s reach to countries including Yemen, Egypt, Libya and Algeria.
“America and its allies are terrified, weak and powerless,” Mr. Baghdadi said. “Due to their fear and weakness, the Jews covertly and stealthily participate in this crusade. They do not have the courage to announce this, out of fear of the Muslims.”
He predicted that the Western powers would soon be forced to engage in ground combat with his fighters, who Western intelligence reports have said are concentrated mostly in eastern Syria and northwestern Iraq.
“O soldiers of the Islamic State, continue to harvest the soldiers,” he said. “Erupt volcanoes of jihad everywhere.”