Spokesman for the group called for sympathisers to attack the West but also Iraq, Syria and Iran

By Middle East Eye

An audio message purporting to come from the spokesman of Islamic State group (IS) called on followers to launch attacks in the US, Europe, Russia, Australia, Iraq, Syria, Iran, and the Philippines during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which began in late May.

The audio clip was distributed on Monday on Islamic State’s channel on Telegram, an encrypted messaging application. It was attributed to the militant group’s official spokesman, Abi al-Hassan al-Muhajer.

“O lions of Mosul, Raqqa, and Tal Afar, God bless those pure arms and bright faces, charge against the rejectionists and the apostates and fight them with the strength of one man,” said al-Muhajer. Rejectionist is a derogatory term used to refer to Shia Muslims.

The authenticity of the recording could not be independently verified, but the voice was the same as a previous audio message purported to be from the spokesman.

The release of the message comes in the wake of a number of Ramadan attacks.

British authorities continue to investigate an attack on London Bridge that took place at the start of Ramadan and which was claimed by IS. 

On 3 June, Khurram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba ploughed into pedestrians in a white van before launching a stabbing spree that left eight people dead and dozens injured before they were shot dead by police arriving on the scene.

Twenty one people have been arrested so far while an inquest has been opened for those killed. 

A Manchester suicide attack at a music concert killed 22 people in late May.

Meanwhile, IS claimed a suicide bomb attack at a Ayatollah Khomeini shrine and a shooting at the Iranian parliament that left 17 dead. Yesterday police in Iran killed four IS suspects in the south of the country and seized explosive, guns and the group’s flag according to an Iranian news agency.

Authorities in the Philippines continue their fight against an insurgency by groups allied to IS. Two hundred thoudand people are said to have fled from the town of Marawi besieged the Muslim-majority town killing and kidnapping civilians, many of them Christian.

IS’s territory in both Iraq and Syria continues to shrink as coalitions of armed groups backed by Western air-support close in on Mosul, their capital in Iraq, and Raqqa, their Syrian capital.

Last Ramadan, IS spokesperson Abu Mohammed al-Adnani – who is now rumoured to be dead – made a similar call for sympathisers in the West to target innocent people. What followed was one of the deadliest months of the year.

IS took credit for an attack by a lone gunman on an Orlando gay nightclub in the early hours of 12 June killing 49 and wounding 53. It was America’s deadliest mass shooting in history and the worst terrorism on US soil since 9/11

Later that month, three IS suicide bombers opened fire then blew themselves up at Istanbul’s main airport, killing 45 and wounding more than 250.

Over 400 people are thought to have died during Ramadan.

It was Al-Adnani who had first exhorted followers to attack the West at the end of 2014 in a message released a month after Western air strikes against the group had begun. He instructed IS supporters to attack unbelievers “in any manner or way however it may be”.