CBN News — Troubling reports are emerging that the Islamic State and al Qaeda-affiliated terror groups are joining forces.
The news comes as a new Internet message surfaces from ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi defying suggestions he may have been wounded in an airstrike in Iraq and taunting American efforts to defeat the group.
In his latest Internet release, al-Baghdadi called on his ISIS supporters to “erupt volcanoes of jihad.”
In the 17-minute video, the terror leader vows America will be defeated and claims months of U.S. airstrikes against ISIS “have not prevented its advance nor weakened its resolve.”
The footage surfaced Thursday, along with reports that leaders from the ISIS terror organizations and al Qaeda gathered at a farm house in northern Syria last week and agreed to stop fighting one another and instead work together against their enemies.
Political observers believe any pact between the two sides could easily unravel, but it is still a union that could raise new difficulties for the Obama administration and its strategy to defeat the terror group.
On Thursday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Congress that coalition efforts have made some headway against the terrorists since September.
“We are seeing steady and sustainable progress along DOD’s two main lines of efforts,” Hagel said.
But the Islamic State remains a serious threat.
“As you know, last week, the Defense Department announced we will expand the support to Iraqi forces by deploying up to 1,500 additional military personnel,” Hagel told legislators.
At the same hearing, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress the U.S. would also consider dispatching a modest force to fight alongside Iraqi troops.
“I’m not predicting at this point that I would recommend that those forces in Mosul and along the border would need to be accompanied by U.S. forces, but we’re certainly considering it,” Dempsey said.
Meanwhile, ISIS is going to start making its own money, according to a website affiliated with the jihadist group.
Al-Baghdadi has instructed his followers to start minting coins, saying he wants a new currency — the Islamic dinar. His aim is to “change the tyrannical monetary system that enslaves Muslims.”
Report via CBN News