Peter Kassig, whom ISIS claimed Sunday to have beheaded and who took the Muslim name Abdel Rahman after his conversion, was struggling to find meaning and purpose in life, which compelled him to go to the Middle East to offer medical help to Syrian refugees, especially after fighting as a U.S. soldier in Iraq and having a divorce.
Kassig, 26, an Indianapolis native, was working as a humanitarian aid worker in Syria when he was captured in the ISIS stronghold Deir Ezzour in eastern Syria on Oct. 1, 2013, according to a Facebook page operated by Kassig's family.
He was traveling in an ambulance to deliver medical supplies. more >>
ISIS released a video Sunday of the beheading of who it claims is 26-year-old American aid worker Peter Kassig. The video was after the beheading and it is unclear through the video if the body is that of Kassig or not.
While still authenticating the video, the White House and British Prime Minister David Cameron have quickly responded with statements condemning the gruesome murder.
"The intelligence community is working as quickly as possible to determine (the video's) authenticity. If confirmed, we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American aid worker and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends," said National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan. more >>
As part of the larger operation to target the Islamic State, or ISIS, terror group, U.S. aircraft hit an al-Qaeda cell in Syria called Khorasan Group, which was believed to be preparing for terror attacks against the United States or its installations overseas, U.S. Central Command says.
From Wednesday to Friday, the U.S.-led coalition has conducted 35 strikes against ISIS and the Khorasan in Syria and Iraq, Reuters quoted the Central Command as saying in a release.
Of these, 19 airstrikes were conducted against the ISIS and the Khorasan in Syria and 16 strikes against Islamic State in Iraq. more >>
Recent testimony from a former teenage ISIS fighter is providing further insight into the unusual training process that the Islamic State is using to prepare hundreds of children to join the group's military and police ranks. The youth's account also shows how children are being cruelly utilized once they complete the training.
As ISIS has posted much to its social media accounts bragging how it is training the "cubs of the Islamic State," a 15-year-old former jihadi, speaking under the pseudonym of "Yasir," told CNN's Arwa Damon earlier this week that ISIS' training of child fighters requires one month of separation from loved ones, and also includes intense religious indoctrination and deadly military exercises.
Additionally, Yasir's testimony highlights how ISIS is putting child fighters at direct risk of harm once they pass training and join the ranks by forcing them to stand guard while wearing suicide vests. more >>
Terror group ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is reportedly alive and has posted a new audio message where he's said that the jihadis will "not stop fighting" against the U.S.-led coalition powers. Al-Baghdadi was believed to have been wounded in an airstrike on a convoy of militants in Iraq last week.
"Even if only one soldier of them remained, they will never abandon fighting, because they defy humiliation and injustice," the voice in the audio recording says. "They will never abandon fighting, because they did not taste honor and dignity except by fighting. They will never abandon fighting. Indeed, they are triumphant. They will be triumphant even if only one man of them is left. They are triumphant and upon certainty of Allah's support for them."
CNN reported that the 17-minute audio message was spread around ISIS social media websites, but it can't be established with certainty if the man speaking who identified himself as al-Baghdadi is indeed the ISIS leader, or when the message was recorded. more >>
Despite the fact that Islamic State leaders have their eyes set on expanding the caliphate outside of Iraq and Syria, a recent poll surveying respondents from seven Arab nations and refugees in Syria found that ISIS is overwhelmingly unpopular among people there.
A telephone poll, conducted by the Arab opinion index team at the Qatar-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, surveyed respondents from Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestinian territory, and Syria (refugees) and found that 85 percent of its respondents view the Islamic State terrorist organization as "negative" or "negative to some extent." Only 11 percent of the respondents said they held "positive" or relatively positive views on ISIS.
The survey also found that nearly six in 10 respondents "strongly support" or "support" the U.S.-led coalition's aims to destroy ISIS, although 75 percent said they have "negative" or "negative to some extent" opinions about U.S. foreign policy in the Arab region. About one-third of the respondents said they either "strongly oppose" or "oppose" the international coalition's efforts. more >>