The leader of al-Qaida-linked militants in Iraq has warned against US attempts to convince fellow Sunni Muslims to back the Baghdad government, saying those who support Washington are “infidels” and would be killed, according to an internet audio recording.
“We believe that anyone who assists the occupier by any means … is an infidel and renegade and spilling his blood is our target,” Abu Omar al-Baghdadi said in the audio recording.
Al-Baghdadi is the so-called “emir” of the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella organisation for Sunni insurgency groups in Iraq including al-Qaida.
The 28-minute audio recording was released yesterday by al-Furqan, the media production house of the Islamic State of Iraq, and was posted on an Islamic website known to be a clearing house for extremist material.
The audio recording’s authenticity could not be immediately verified.
It was unclear exactly when the audio recording was made, but al-Baghdadi did not mention Saturday’s arrest of an important al-Qaida figure in Iraq.
Iraqi officials initially said they had arrested al-Baghdadi but later said another al-Qaida leader had been captured.
Officials have declined to give the suspect’s name.