Islamic State is taunting its enemies, having issued an audio warning of fresh attacks and proclaiming the coronavirus pandemic to be the “punishment of God for you.” The Sunni jihadist group published the audio recording on Thursday. “God, by his will, sent a punishment to tyrants of this time and their followers,” an ISIS figure identifying himself as Abu Hamzah al-Quraishi said. The punishment, he continued, “cannot be seen by the naked eye.” He was apparently referring to the coronavirus. Quraishi directly addressed ISIS fighters and sympathizers everywhere by urging them to “prepare whatever strength you can, and to be as hard as you can on the enemies of God and to raid their places. Don’t let a single day pass without making their lives awful.” Since losing the last of its widespread land holdings in early 2019 to a multinational offensive, ISIS has been relying on relatively small cells in Iraq, Syria and North Africa to keep its threats of violence and the reestablishment of a caliphate alive. Experts say its fighters have largely been able to avoid the effects of the coronavirus by hiding out in remote locations where there is little, if any, contact with centers of the pandemic.
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