Isis leader purportedly urges members to free detainees from camps

An audio recording was released on Monday in which the leader of the Islamic State group purportedly called on members of the extremist group to do all they can to free Isis detainees and women held in jails and camps.

The alleged audio recording of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, which also said Isis is carrying out attacks in different countries, is believed to be his first public statement since April, when he appeared in a video for the first time in five years.

In the 30-minute recording released by a media arm of the group, Al-Furqan, the voice – thought to be al-Baghdadi – asks how a Muslim can enjoy life when Muslim women are held in “prisons of humiliation run by Crusaders and their Shia followers”.

Al-Baghdadi also appeared to call on militants to target interrogators and judges who are questioning Isis members.

The recording urged detainees and women held in camps to be patient. One of the largest camps, al-Hawl camp in Syria’s northeastern Hasakeh province, is home to about 73,000 people, many of them families of Isis members who emerged from the group’s last bastion in Syria. Tens of thousands of fighters and other members of the group are held in detention centres across northern Syria and in Iraq.

In Syria, the centres are controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which spearheaded the fight against Isis in eastern Syria.

With a $25m bounty on his head, al-Baghdadi is the world’s most wanted man, responsible for steering his chillingly violent organisation into mass slaughter of opponents and directing and inspiring terror attacks across the globe and in the heart of Europe.

Isis was defeated in Iraq in 2017, while in Syria, it lost its last territory in March, marking the end of the extremists’ self-declared caliphate.

Despite these battlefield defeats, sleeper cells have continued to launch attacks in both Iraq and Syria.

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