NEW DELHI: A week after rumours surfaced that Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been wounded in an airstrike, the leader appeared on an audio recording carried on IS-run social media. “Be assured, O Muslims, for your state is good and in the best condition,” Baghdadi said, according to an English transcript of the message released together with the recording.

In the recording, Baghdadi called for attacks on Saudi Arabia, saying that the IS’ self-declared Caliphate would be expanding there and four other Arab countries. Baghdadi additionally said that the US-led campaign against the militants in Syria and Iraq -- a new phase of which US President Obama recently announced -- was failing.

"O sons of al-Haramayn...the serpent's head and the stronghold of the disease are there...draw your swords and divorce life, because there should be no security for the Saloul," Baghdadi said, using a derogatory term to refer to the leadership of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has sent thousands of troops to border areas since the IS stepped up its offensive in Iraq in June this year, with the fall of Mosul.

"We announce to you the expansion of the Islamic State to new countries, to the countries of the Haramayn, Yemen, Egypt, Libya, Algeria," Baghdadi continued. The choice of countries is interesting, as it focuses on a broad-based local support base and doesn’t include Pakistan, Afghanistan or Lebanon for instance, where there has been a pledge of assistance to the IS, albeit limited and isolated.

However, Baghdadi added that the fight should continue everywhere. "Oh soldiers of the Islamic State...erupt volcanoes of jihad everywhere. Light the earth with fire against all dictators."

The recording, which hasn’t been independently verified, is not dated but does seem to refer to a recent decision by President Obama to send an additional 1500 troops to Iraq. The decision was announced on November 7, shortly after rumours regarding Baghdadi being wounded emerged.

Referring to the US-led campaign against the IS, Baghdadi said "despite this Crusade campaign being the most fierce and severe of all, it is the greatest failure." "We see America and its allies stumbling in fear, weakness, impotence and failure."

The recording also referred to Yemen -- where Shi'ite Houthis captured the capital Sanaa in September, and Egypt -- for starting a jihad against the “dictators of Egypt.” Baghdadi further encouraged supporters in Libya, Algeria and Morocco to prevent secular groups from ruling.

The United States’ State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that the recording could not be verified, although independent analysts have concluded that it appears authentic and recent. "Clearly the brutality, the rhetoric, the efforts to incite, by any leaders of ISIL … is not a new phenomenon. It certainly is a reminder to everyone in the region and around the world of what their intentions are," Psaki told reporters.

The recording follows contradictory reports out Iraq, where after an airstrike last week, the country’s Defense and Interior ministries both issued statements saying that al-Baghdadi had been wounded in western Anbar province and the news was soon broadcast on state-run television, although no further details were provided. US officials, however, immediately expressed skepticism. Fox News quoted Air Force Col. Pat Ryder, a spokesperson for U.S. Central Command, saying, “We have no information to corroborate press reports that (Islamic State) leader al-Baghdadi has been injured.”