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New IS spokesman urges fighters not to flee Mosul, Raqqa

IS has said its previous spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani was killed earlier this year
An Islamic State fighter holding a flag (AA)

A new spokesman for the Islamic State (IS) group on Monday urged its fighters not to flee in the face of US-backed offensives in Iraq and Syria.

Abulhassan al-Muhajer, in an audio message broadcast by IS propaganda organ Al-Furqan, told fighters "not to flee" the battlefield, promising "victory".

IS has said al-Muhajer's predecessor, Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, was killed earlier this year. The Pentagon said a precision air strike killed him three months ago near the group's de facto Syrian capital of Raqqa.

In the audio message, the new IS spokesman called for patience from the group's fighters and urged them to hold fast and "not to flee" the battlefield.

On 3 November, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi broke a nearly year-long silence as Iraqi forces closed in on Mosul, urging militants to hold their ground in the city against an offensive launched on 17 October.

It was in Mosul that Baghdadi, in June 2014, announced the creation of the Islamic caliphate straddling Iraq and Syria. 

On Monday, the IS spokesman called for attacks on Turkey which has troops stationed at a base near Mosul and is also battling the militant group in Syria.