Egyptian militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State [Isis] via an audio clip released on their official Twitter account.
The audio message was posted by an account which claims to be the official channel for the group's messages. If confirmed, the support of the Egyptian militant group would continue to demonstrate IS' expanding influence in the Middle East.
A man who says he is from the group's "information department" delivers the message and says that the group had now pledged their loyalty to IS' "caliph" Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was reportedly injured in a US airstrike in Mosul.
Senior Iraqi officials confirmed that the leader of IS was at the very least wounded in the coalition attack and said that the terror chief's right hand man, Auf Abdulrahman Elefery, had died during the aerial assault.
Last week, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis had distanced itself from a Twitter message which claimed that the group was now in support of IS, the al-Qaida splinter group which continues to expand its self-proclaimed "caliphate" which straddles the Iraqi-Syrian border.
"The statement that has been circulated in the media and is sourced to us, regarding the group's declaration of allegiance to the Caliphate of the Muslims, is nothing to do with us," said the tweet.
The group's Twitter account, which was under the username @3Ansar_B_Almqds, has now been suspended by the social media site. The account has posted messages on the group's behalf before and has been suspended and re-opened a number of times.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has said that the North African country confronts an "existential threat" from militants in the Sinai Peninsula, where militants have carried out numerous attacks since the coup which overthrew Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi.
Last month, 33 Egyptian security forces were killed in two attacks in the Sinai, leading Cairo to issue a three-month state of emergency in the northern Sinai.