IS releases audio recording 'from top leader al-Baghdadi'
The 46-minute recording, much of which is dedicated to religious scriptures, comes as the militant group struggles to maintain control over much of its territory in Iraq and Syria.
The date of the recording was unclear but is the first of the elusive leader in almost a year. In it, he makes reference to North Korean threats against Japan and the US.
It comes amid speculations over Baghdadi's fate following recent reports that he was killed after a Russian airstrike hit a convoy of senior IS commanders near Raqqa.
Earlier this month, a senior US general told reporters Baghdadi is probably still alive and likely hiding in the Middle Euphrates River Valley.
"We're looking for him every day. I don't think he's dead," said Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, commander of the counter-IS coalition in Iraq and Syria.
In 2014, following the rapid capture of Mosul and vast swathes of western Iraq by IS, Baghdadi declared himself the new leader of an "Islamic caliphate" from the Grand Mosque of al-Nuri in the Old City of Mosul.
The group and lone wolves inspired by it have claimed numerous terror attacks from the US to the Philippines, via Europe and the Middle East.