A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi makes his first public appearance at a mosque in the center of Iraq's second city, Mosul, according to a video recording posted on the Internet on July 5, 2014. Reuters

Daily Mail: ISIS leader declares ‘Islam was never a religion of peace. Islam is the religion of fighting’ as he calls on Muslims to ‘fight for the Caliphate’ in new audio message

* Message purportedly from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, not heard from in months
* Says: 'Islam was never a religion of peace. Islam is the religion of fighting'
* Ancient city of Palmyra, a world heritage site, under threat of destruction given ISIS vandalised treasures of Nimrud and Hatra in Iraq
* Extremists now barely a mile from gates of ancient world cultural centre

The leader of Islamic State has declared 'Islam is the religion of fighting' in a rare audio message which called on all Muslims to 'fight for the caliphate'.

Islamic State released the message yesterday claiming it was from its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as the extremist group executed 26 civilians before reaching the gates of an ancient Syrian city amid fears they could destroy it.

The audio message posted on militant websites features a voice that sounds like al-Baghdadi's exhorting all Muslims to take up arms and fight on behalf of the group's self-styled caliphate.

In it the leader, who had not been seen or heard from in months, said: 'Islam was never a religion of peace. Islam is the religion of fighting. No one should believe that the war that we are waging is the war of the Islamic State.'

WNU Editor: Who to believe .... Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama or Abu Balr Al-Baghdadi?

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