By Jordan Fabian - 12/26/15 11:43 AM EST
ISIS leader threatens to strike Israel
The leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Saturday released an audio statement issuing a stern warning against Western nations sending troops into his group's territory.
The audio statement was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s first in seven months, according to The Telegraph.
Baghdadi said the U.S. and its allies have "learned from" recent lengthy wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Crusaders and Jews don't dare to come on the ground because they were defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan," he said.
He also threatened ISIS attacks in Israel, saying the terror network would attempt to establish a stronghold there as well.
"Jews, soon you shall hear from us in Palestine, which will become your grave," Baghdadi reportedly said.
"The Jews thought we forgot Palestine and that they had distracted us from it," he added. "Not at all, Jews. We did not forget Palestine for a moment. With the help of Allah, we will not forget it."
The message said that a U.S.-led coalition military campaign and Russian air strikes have failed to weaken ISIS.
"Be confident that God will grant victory to those who worship him, and hear the good news that our state is doing well. The more intense the war against it, the purer it becomes and the tougher it gets," the leader said.
President Obama has defended his strategy of fighting ISIS with a bombing campaign local ground forces, saying the group has lost 40 percent of the territory it once held.
ISIS last issued an audio statement from Baghdadi in May, when he called on supporters from around the world to join the fight in Iraq and Syria and carry out strikes at home. He echoed that message in his latest recording, calling on Saudis to "rise up" against their leaders.
Media outlets could not independently verify the authenticity of the recording. But Reuters reported it was posted on social media accounts that routinely publish official statements from ISIS leaders.
Updated at 12:09 p.m.