The head of the Islamic State survived a recent airstrike that prompted rumors about his death, two U.S. officials told Fox News – as a new audio tape emerged of him claiming the terror network would fight to the last man.
The statement from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was released Thursday on social media networks. In it, he says his fighters "will never leave fighting, even if only one soldier remains."
Al-Baghdadi's statement came after rumors that he was wounded, or even killed, in an airstrike over the weekend. The audio statement also marks his first comments since a U.S.-led alliance began conducting airstrikes targeting the group in Iraq and Syria.
A review of the English translation of the tape indicates it was recorded after Friday's announcement of additional U.S. advisers to the region, as he references the "deployment of 1,500 additional soldiers" -- and possibly as recently as Tuesday, when an Al Qaeda group in the Sinai became the latest to pledge loyalty to the Islamic State. The statement references the "expansion of the Islamic State to new lands" including Egypt.
Two U.S. officials told Fox News that based on the intelligence, al-Baghdadi survived the strike.
The recording appeared authentic, and his voice appeared to correspond with previous recordings released by the group.
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge and The Associated Press contributed to this report.