Conflicting news reports surrounding the fate of Father Thomas Uzhunnalil, a Catholic priest kidnapped by the Islamic State terror group and believed to have been crucified on Good Friday, have given hope that he might still be alive.
Although Austrian news reports said the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, claimed during Easter vigil mass that the 56-year-old priest has been killed, Bishop Paul Hinder of Southern Arabia announced earlier this week that he has "strong indications that Fr. Tom is still alive in the hands of the kidnappers."
Hinder reportedly told Catholic News Agency that his hopes remain high that Uzhunnalil has not been killed, though could not give any further information in order to protect the life of the priest. more >>
The United States will send more troops to Iraq to support Iraqi forces and international ground operations, the Pentagon said Sunday as it identified the marine killed in a rocket attack by the Islamic State terror group as 27-year-old Sgt. Louis F. Cardin from Temecula, California.
An undisclosed number of troops from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit will be sent, the Pentagon said in a statement, according to Fox News, which said the details of their mission were not provided.
The Pentagon also said Sgt. Cardin was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He died Mar. 19 in northern Iraq from wounds suffered when the enemy attacked his unit with rocket fire. more >>
In its continued assault against Christianity and the religion's history, the Islamic State has released a video that shows its jihadis burning hundreds of Christian books last week in the Iraqi city of Mosul on the grounds that they are the "books of infidels."
The terror group, which conquered Mosul and much of the Nineveh Plains during the summer of 2014, published a video through the affiliated Amaq news agency, showing IS militants in its largest Iraqi stronghold tossing hundreds of Christian textbooks into a large bonfire.
The video was obtained by media activists and posted to YouTube by an Assyrian Christian media group so that it could be circulated as additional proof of IS' attempt to destroy Christianity and other religions in Iraq and Syria. more >>
The president of Iraq said this week that Christians are the "original" members of his nation.
During his first visit to Egypt, Iraqi president Fouad Masum, who is of Kurdish descent, told Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II that Christians are an integral part of Iraqi heritage.
The Fides News Agency reported on the meeting between Masum and Tawadros II, saying that the two leaders agreed that "Christians are 'original members' of Iraq, as evidenced by the ancient monasteries scattered throughout the country." more >>
Seventeen-year-old Nihad Barakat Shamo Alawsi escaped the Islamic State with her life, but in the process left her newborn baby behind.
In 2014, Alawsi was captured by Islamic State militants after the terror group had taken over her town of Sinjar in northwest Iraq, abducting her and 27 of her family members, according to Daily Mail. Alwasi, 15 at the time, was held captive in Mosul where she was repeatedly beaten and raped by jihadists.
"They raped us, they killed our men, they took our babies away from us," she recently told AMAR Foundation, an organization that helps people in areas of conflict. "The worst thing was the torture in Mosul. We were beaten and raped continuously for two weeks." more >>
Islamic State militants have been raping girls as young as 8 and 9-years-old in packed halls full of victims, details from an anti-extremist report reveals.
The revelations came from a detailed 100-page report by the Quilliam Foundation, based on six months of research into the practices and abuses being carried out by IS.
"One woman described how she was raped in Mosul and that she heard the screams of girls who had been taken from the main hall where she and other women were being kept, to a small adjacent room. She recounted how she saw an IS man point a gun at a young girl who had been resisting," the report states in part. more >>