- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has reportedly set his sights on Rome.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has been deemed by his fighters to be the first Caliph since the Ottoman empire, aims to extend an ‘Islamic State’ into Europe.

“Rush O Muslims to your state. It is your state. Syria is not for Syrians and Iraq is not for Iraqis. The land is for the Muslims, all Muslims. … This is my advice to you. If you hold to it you will conquer Rome and own the world, if Allah wills,” al-Baghdadi said in an audio recording released online, the Telegraph reported Wednesday.

In the recording, al-Baghdadi urges Muslims from all over the world to flock to the region, stressing the need for men with military and managerial skills. He also calls for “doctors and engineers in all fields.”

In recent weeks, ISIL has taken control of much of Iraq, including its second-largest city, Mosul. Shafin Dizayee, a spokesman for autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government in Irbil, told McClatchy news service June 24 that “it has become close to a nightmare scenario, where we see [ISIL] expanding and taking control of its borders.”

The Obama administration has sent roughly 750 troops to the region to help Iraq’s Shiite-led government protect the U.S. Embassy and come up with a strategy to push back the Sunni radicals.

SEE ALSO: ‘I’ll see you guys in New York’: Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s parting words to U.S. troops in 2009

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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