I.S. leader urges attacks in Saudi Arabia

Nov 14, 2014, 12:31 AM EST
Smoke rises after a mortar shell fired from Syria's border town Kobani (Ayn al-Arab) hit a wasteland in Suruc district of Turkey's Sanliurfa near Turkish-Syrian border crossing as the clashes between Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and Kurdish armed groups continue in Kobani town of Aleppo in Northern Syria, on November 12, 2014.
AFP/Getty Images

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called for attacks against the rulers of Saudi Arabia in a speech purported to be in his name on Thursday, saying his self-declared caliphate was expanding there and in four other Arab countries. Reuters writes:

Baghdadi also said a U.S.-led military campaign against his group in Syria and Iraq was failing and he called for "volcanoes of jihad" the world over. Reuters could not independently confirm the authenticity of the speech - an audio recording carried on Islamic State-run social media.

The voice sounded similar to a previous speech delivered by Baghdadi in July in a mosque in the Iraqi city of Mosul, the last time he spoke in public. The speech followed contradictory accounts out of Iraq after U.S. air strikes last Friday about whether he was wounded in a raid.

U.S. officials said on Tuesday they could not confirm whether Baghdadi was hit in a strike near Falluja in Iraq.

President Barack Obama has asked his national security team for another review of the U.S. policy toward Syria after realizing that ISIS may not be defeated without a political transition in Syria and the removal of President Bashar al-Assad, senior U.S. officials and diplomats said. CNN reports:

The review is a tacit admission that the initial strategy of trying to confront ISIS first in Iraq and then take the group's fighters on in Syria, without also focusing on the removal of al-Assad, was a miscalculation.

In just the past week, the White House has convened four meetings of the President's national security team, one of which was chaired by Obama and others that were attended by principals like the secretary of state.

These meetings, in the words of one senior official, were "driven to a large degree how our Syria strategy fits into our ISIS strategy."

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