Islamic State (Isis) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has released an audio statement pledging future terror attacks in Israel. Calling for an uprising in Saudi Arabia, Baghdadi pledged to attack Israel and the West, saying IS (Daesh) has "not forgotten Palestine for a single moment".
"And soon, soon with God's permission, you will hear the footsteps of the mujahideen... We are getting closer to you day by day," he said in the chilling message.
In the recording, he refers to a 34-nation anti-IS coalition announced by Saudi Arabia on December 15. "They announced lately a coalition... falsely called 'Islamic,' and announced its goal is to fight the caliphate. If this coalition were Islamic, it would have announced victory and aid to the people of Syria," he said.
He called on Saudi citizens to "rise up against the apostate tyrants, and avenge your people in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen", the Mail Online reports.
Baghdadi has slammed the Saudi Kingdom's monarchy for their relationship with the West. In an earlier message he accused Saudi rulers of launching an air campaign against Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen in a bid to pacify the West.
The 24-minute recording is Baghdadi's first in seven months, during which IS has been dealt several blows in Iraq and Syria. It is unclear when the statement was recorded.
Baghdadi is renowned for being a highly organised and ruthless battlefield tactician who seldom appears in the media and rarely reveals his face, even to IS members. For this reason, he has been dubbed "the invisible sheikh".
In a video published on July 2014, the fighter called on Muslims to obey him and join the caliphate. "I am the wali [leader] who presides over you," he said in the video, "though I am not the best of you, so if you see that I am right, assist me. If you see that I am wrong, advise me and put me on the right track, and obey me as long as I obey God in you."
Time magazine controversially named the "brooding muezzin of death" as the runner-up for its Person of the Year. Baghdadi was chosen by the publication's editors because they stated, "as leader of Isis, [he] has inspired followers to both fight in his self-declared caliphate of Iraq and Syria, and also stage attacks in countries like Tunisia and France".