Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Wednesday urged Muslims to continue to fight, in a purported audio message released on the Telegram messaging service. Baghdadi also called for attacks in western countries, AFP reported.

“Those who forget their religion, patience, jihad against their enemies, and their certainty in the creator’s promise lose and are disgraced,” Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed “caliph” of the terrorist group, said. “But when they hold on to it, they are mighty and victorious, even if after a certain time.” His message, the first since September 2017, came after the Islamic State group has lost most of its territory in Iraq and Syria.

It is unclear when the audio was recorded. Baghdadi criticised Saudi Arabia’s decision last week to spend $100 million (Rs 699 crore) to help rebuild Syria’s northeast region. He also attacked the United States and Russia for their military campaigns in Syria, claiming that Islamic State militants have prepared “horrors” for these countries.

In a 55-minute speech, Baghdadi hailed people he called the “striking lions” behind a recent attack in Canada, Reuters reported. A shooting incident in Toronto in July left two people dead and 13 wounded.

The Islamic State group chief asked his followers to keep up the “jihad” against Shiites – a minority sect within Islam – calling them apostates. Baghdadi also warned that Idlib province in Syria was about to fall to Russian and government forces.