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Homeland Security

IS Takes Aim at US President, Says Jihad at 'Dangerous Turning Point'

By Jeff Seldin April 04, 2017

A spokesman for Islamic State is lashing out at the United States and President Donald Trump in what some see as an attempt to rally the terror group's fighters.

In a new, nearly 37-minute-long audio message published Tuesday by IS propagandists on Telegram and other social media, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir said the U.S. was drowning with no one to save it.

"You are bankrupt and the signs of your demise are evident to every eye," al-Muhajir said. "There is no more evidence than the fact that you are being run by an idiot who does not know what Syria or Iraq or Islam is."

He also said the U.S. should "die of spite."

"A nation where both young and old are racing to die in the name of God will not be defeated," al-Muhajir warned.

The message, titled "So be patient. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth," is the first from al-Muhajir since December of last year when he urged supporters to target their enemies wherever they are and "burn the ground under their feet."

US plan against IS

The new audio comes as President Trump has made destroying IS his top foreign policy priority. Some analysts say the terror group targeting Trump in its latest message should come as no surprise.

"They carefully track coverage of the group in news stories, and they know just what buttons to push to ensure major media organizations will pay attention to this address," said Michael Smith, a terrorism analyst who has consulted in the past with both the White House and members of Congress.

"There is a myriad of jabs at [former U.S. President Barack] Obama in official Islamic State propaganda and we'd see the same thing if Hillary [Clinton] had been elected," Smith added. "On Election Day, the group said the only difference between Trump and Clinton is that the latter is more skilled with political correctness and 'sorcery.' "

Other terror analysts also see the audio message from al-Muhajir as little more than an attempt to rally the group's remaining forces.

"Nothing new in #ISIS spokesman speech," SITE Intelligence Group Director Rita Katz said in a Tweet. "Rather calls for support for #ISIS in time of weakness while lauding fighters and supporters."

U.S. officials have said that while IS remains dangerous, its fighting force in Iraq and Syria has been whittled down to about 12,000 to 15,000 fighters, while the amount of territory the group controls has shrunk by about 65 percent.

Lost ground, forces

Islamic State fighters have also lost most of the self-declared caliphate's Iraqi capital of Mosul to U.S.-backed forces. And its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa is also coming under increased pressure.

Still, al-Muhajir brazenly predicted the capitals of Iraq and Jordan would fall to IS forces, as would Saudi Arabia. And he told fighters in Mosul and Tal Afar in Iraq, and those defending Raqqa, that now is the greatest moment of the group's jihad, though he also warned it is also at a "dangerous turning point."

"A generation was raised in the caliphate state and they are on the ready to give their lives for the sake of their religion," he warned.

The IS spokesman also reached out to the group's supporters in the West and elsewhere, urging more attacks.

"To the supporter of the caliphate in America, Russia and Europe, the enemy's interest can easily be targeted by you," al-Muhajir said. "Make the enemy busy with itself so they can be distracted from targeting the nation of Islam."

Information from Reuters was also used in this report.

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