Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has hit back against accusations by U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter that his country has "no will" to fight terror group ISIS, which prompted Vice President Joe Biden to call al-Abadi and speak about the issue. The Iraqi army has meanwhile launched a major military offensive to liberate the captured Anbar and Salaheddin provinces.
Abadi responded to Carter's accusations over the weekend by stating through a spokesman that the U.S. defense secretary had been given "incorrect information," and said that it's not right to "judge the whole army based on one incident."
Iraqi forces lost the battle for the key city of Ramadi earlier this month, giving ISIS its most significant victory in the country since the U.S. and its international allies began airstrike operations against the terror group last year. more >>
Terror group ISIS has executed at least 400 people, mostly women and children, in the city of Palmyra since it was captured last week, Syrian state television has said. Hundreds of others have been captured and face a similar fate, according to a human rights agency.
"The terrorists have killed more than 400 people ... and mutilated their bodies, under the pretext that they cooperated with the government and did not follow orders," The Independent quoted the state news agency on Sunday, noting that most of the dead are women and children.
Residents have said that the hundreds of bodies that littered the streets of the ancient city are victims from groups loyal to the government, which is engaged in a civil war both against ISIS and other rebel groups trying to overthrow it. more >>
JERUSALEM - In a high-energy parting shot to a gathering of several thousand Spirit-filled believers at the closing session of the Empowered21 Global Congress in Jerusalem, Israel on Sunday, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Samuel Rodriguez warned that "there is no such thing as comfortable Christianity" and urged the group to use the power God gave them to declare Him to the world.
"When you are filled with God's Spirit everything changes. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you are able to do what you were not able to do before. The Spirit came down and Peter did what? He raised his voice…Listen carefully, religion makes us complacent while revival makes us courageous. Today's complacency is tomorrow's captivity," he warned.
Preaching from Acts 2:14 highlighting the reaction of the Apostle Peter after the initial descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, Rodriguez urged the believers to "be filled, stand up, and raise your voice." more >>
Islamic State gained full control of a border crossing between Iraq and Syria Sunday, the day after an alliance of Iraqi forces managed to take back from the terror group a town east of Ramadi and advanced to liberate another neighboring town.
Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, has now full control over the Al-Walid border, which includes the two main roads between Syria and Iraq's province of Anbar, according to Agence France Presse.
ISIS forced the Iraqi coalition to pull back from the border after an offensive early Sunday, a week after the Sunni terror group seized the Iraqi city of Ramadi and days after it captured the historic Syrian city of Palmyra. ISIS' attacks on Ramadi over the past few weeks have left thousands of residents displaced. more >>
JERUSALEM — At the border between Israel and Jordan in east Jerusalem, a lone Jordanian soldier dressed in camouflage and armed with a gun gazed nonchalantly at a spectacle unfolding before him on the other side of the river. Christians, busloads of them, were beginning to arrive.
This is the Jordan River, the place where Jesus of Nazareth was baptized by John the Baptist, and the place where the Israelites first crossed into the Promised Land.
And on Saturday evening, under the watchful eyes of young, armed Israeli soldiers dressed in army green fatigues and their counterparts in Jordan, scores of men, women and children of the Christian faith exulted, engaged in somber reflection and got baptized as they tried to connect with a piece of history in the mud-brown stretch of river where the human rendition of God got baptized and began His ministry. more >>
JERUSALEM — In a clarion call to a global gathering of Spirit-filled believers in Jerusalem Friday, Jentezen Franklin, senior pastor of the multi-campus Free Chapel Church, urged the anointed throng to start preaching "the truth about being filled with the Holy Spirit" and speaking in tongues to their families or risk losing a generation.
Franklin explained that speaking in tongues is the language of the Holy Spirit that was first shared with the church in the Upper Room in the book of Acts in the Bible, now known as the day of Pentecost.
That gift of the Holy Spirit, he said, has made its way down through generations of Spirit-filled believers, like those in his own family. He warned, however, that if those who have had the experience don't continue to share the gift beginning with their families, it will eventually die a slow death. more >>