BEIRUT (AP) — Fighters of the Islamic State militant group are ready to battle a U.S.-led military coalition seeking to destroy it, the group’s spokesman said in a new audio recording in which he called on Muslims worldwide to kill civilians of nations that join the fight.
American and French warplanes have carried airstrikes against the group, and U.S. President Barack Obama is working to form a global coalition to confront the group, which controls large parts of Syria and Iraq.
The United States has rallied some 40 countries to take part in fighting the extremist group, and is also making plans to train up to 5,000 Syrian rebels in Saudi Arabia to be used in conjunction with potential U.S. airstrikes in Syria.
In a nearly 42-minute audio statement released online late Sunday, Islamic State group spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani said the coalition will not be able to defeat the jihadis. He called on Muslims everywhere to kill anyone whose country takes part in the attack.
“Oh, believer, do not let this battle pass you by wherever you may be. You must strike the soldiers, patrons and troops of the tyrants. Strike their police, security and intelligence members,” al-Adnani said.
“If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that joined a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be,” he said.
The statement was released in Arabic by the Islamic State group’s media arm, Al-Furqan, and appeared on militant sites used by the group. The speaker sounded like that of previous recordings attributed to al-Adnani.
Responding to al-Adnani’s statement, France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said he is confident in the country’s security.
“This threat to kill civilians, added to the execution of hostages and to the massacres, is yet another demonstration of the barbarism of these terrorists, justifying our fight without truce or pause,” Cazeneuve said Monday. “France is not afraid because it is prepared to respond to their threats,” he added.
The Islamic State group is an al-Qaida breakaway that has set up its own self-declared caliphate in areas it controls in Syria and Iraq. It rules by its harsh version of Islamic law.
The group has already beheaded two Americans and a British citizen it was holding. It is also threatening to behead more westerners.
Al-Adnani called on people to prevent their sons from joining rebels that the U.S. plans to train to fight the group. He said jihadis will make them “dig their graves with their own hands and have their heads cut off and homes destroyed.”
Youssef reported from Cairo.