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Jihadists Pledge Allegiance to Islamic State Leader in Video

The Syrian media branch of the Islamic State released a video Wednesday featuring fighters from five countries pledging allegiance to the group.

by Liz Fields
Nov 19 2014, 4:40pm

Photo via YouTube

The media branch of the Islamic State released a short film Wednesday featuring fighters said to be from five countries celebrating and lauding jihadists who recently pledged allegiance to the group's self-declared leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The video shows the expanding empire of the Islamic State, which has seized vast areas of land in Iraq and Syria since June. Throughout the clip, interviews with a number of jihadists purported to be in Egypt, Yemen, Algeria, Libya, and Saudi Arabia are punctuated with shots of fighters waving the group's black flags from moving cars and motorcycles.

"Come to their senses and pledge allegiance," one of the gun-wielding men says three minutes into the video. "This religion does not spread with talk, but with flesh and body parts."

Iraqi authorities analyzing authenticity of al-Baghdadi video. Read more here.

The Islamic State's media branch in Raqqa, Syria, released this video on November 19.

Last week, the Sunni Islamist group released an audio recording of Baghdadi calling for fellow Muslims from these countries, as well as Tunisia and Morocco, to rail against their respective governments and blast "the volcanoes of jihad."

"Oh Muslims," he says, "we give you good news by announcing the expansion of the Islamic State to new lands ... the lands of Al Haramayn [Saudi Arabia], Yemen, Egypt, Libya, and Algeria," Baghdadi says in the recording released on November 13 by al-Furqan Association, the Islamic State's central media arm.

Baghdadi also mocked the US-led "crusade campaign" against him, including Arab participation in the coalition airstrikes, and declared an expansion of the Islamic State's territory into new provinces in several other Arab nations.

The audio recording came four days after speculation swirled widely on media that Baghdadi was critically injured or killed in coalition attacks in Iraq on November 9.

The State Department said they are working to analyze the authenticity of the audio recording.

"Clearly the brutality, the rhetoric, the efforts to incite, by any leaders of ISIL … is not a new phenomenon. It certainly is a reminder to everyone in the region and around the world of what their intentions are," spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

The number of foreign fighters who have joined the Islamic State has swelled to between some 20,000 and 31,500 fighters, including an estimated 2,000 Western recruits now across Iraq and Syria, according to new CIA estimates.

Islamic State leader possibly killed — or possibly not — by airstrikes in Iraq. Read more here.

Follow Liz Fields on Twitter: @lianzifields