Pope Francis has reached out to an Iraqi priest helping refugees who are fleeing terror group ISIS and are said to be in a "miserable" situation, telling the priest that he is always with him in prayer.
"'I read your letter,' said the Pope. He said he was very sorry for everything that was happening to us and he said, 'Know that I am with you in prayer always. I never forget you,'" Fr. Behnam Benoka told CNA on Sunday, recalling the pontiff's phone call.
Benoka had written to the pope to tell him of the dire situation thousands of refugees, including many Christians, face in Iraq as they continue fleeing violence from ISIS. more >>
A 23-year-old captured suicide bomber from ISIS, who is lodged in a hospital in a Kurdish city in Iraq, spoke to Sky News and said the Sunni terror group has recruited numerous foreign fighters, including from the United States and Europe.
"There are nations from all over the world there. There is British amongst them. They are from Asian countries, Europe and America. From everywhere," Horr Jaffer, who is from Chechnya but had been fighting for ISIS in Iraq as a suicide bomber, told Sky News in an interview at a military hospital in the city of Sulaymaniyah, the capital of Sulaymaniyah Governorate.
The bomber was caught in the southern Kurdish town of Jalula after his bomb exploded only in part. Yet, four people were killed and several others were injured in the attack. more >>
Tired of being slaughtered like sheep and chased from a place they have called home for two millennia, some Christian groups in northern Iraq have decided to take up arms to defend their place in the war-torn country from the terror of ISIS.
Henry Sarkis, 44, an official with the Assyrian Patriotic Party which is one of several Assyrian political organizations in Iraq, told National Geographic that his party has armed and dispatched 40 of its members to join the Kurdish Peshmerga, the official security force of the Kurdistan Regional Government, in fighting ISIS in Iraq's northwest.
A group of online, crowdfunded bloggers claim that they have pinpointed the location of a terrorist training ground used by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). By simply examining peripheral landmarks in pictures posted by the terrorists to social media accounts, the bloggers claim to have verified the locations of the pictures using free online satellite imagery programs.
A team of journalists, researchers and bloggers contributing to the crowd-sponsored investigative blog Bellingcat.com, which researches conflict zones and other "issues being ignored" by the U.S. government, claim that they found that the general area of the training ground is near the west bank of the Tigres River in the north side of the city of Mosul.
The website received over $85,000 in funding donations through its participation with the Kickstarter.com funding website. The site was started by Elliot Higgins, who first came to fame for proving that Syria was using chemical weapons by using online videos and images. Higgins said he started the project to show that everyday people are capable of uncovering secrets of the state. more >>
Terror group ISIS has demanded a $6.6 million ransom for the release of a 26-year-old American woman it captured over a year ago while she was doing humanitarian relief work in Syria.
The woman, whose identity was not released due to a request from her family, is the third of at least four Americans who are known to be held captive by ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, ABC News reported on Tuesday. The militants are also demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT-trained neuroscientist convicted by the U.S. in 2010 of trying to kill two American officials two years before.
ISIS, which has captured significant territory in Iraq and Syria, beheaded American journalist James Foley last week, and warned President Barack Obama to stop air strikes against ISIS targets. more >>
A Catholic priest described his shock at the conditions Iraqi Christian refugees face, saying that they were left helpless and angry at government soldiers who abandoned them to ISIS extremists after the militants began their attacks.
"The people are angry because the government just gave up on them. They told us that, in Mosul, where there had normally been a presence of 60,000 soldiers, after the onslaught of ISIS, in only a matter of hours, these soldiers abandoned them, laying down their weapons," said Fr Rami Wakim, the secretary to Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregoire III Laham, according to The Catholic Herald on Monday.
Last week, the priest accompanied a delegation of Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs to Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region of the country, where scores of persecuted minorities, including many Christians, are fleeing to. more >>