Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat might have converted to Christianity before his death in 2004, suggested Christian writer and speaker RT Kendall, a close friend of his. Kendall revealed that Arafat wept while watching Mel Gibson's epic "The Passion of the Christ" a decade ago, and said that he would not be surprised to see his friend in heaven.
"It wouldn't surprise me to see him in heaven,' Kendall said in an interview with Premier. Christianity magazine. 'I'll tell you why. I prayed with him five times, anointed him with oil, I gave him a [salvation] prayer … I'm not saying I know that he's saved; I'm saying I wouldn't be surprised."
Kendall talked about how he initially met Arafat in 2002 during a visit to Israel and Palestinian territories. During the meeting, which went on for longer than planned, the two discussed the nature of Jesus — whether He died, was resurrected and ascended to heaven, as Christianity teaches, or whether He did not die, as the Quran suggests. more >>
Iraqi military officials said Tuesday that Iraqi forces have retaken control of the government headquarters and nearly three-quarters of the strategic oil town of Beiji, which is located about 155 miles north of Baghdad and houses Iraq's largest oil refinery.
However, it is unclear as to whether the Iraqi soldiers have yet retaken control of the the oil refinery, which was captured by ISIS militants over five months ago and lies on the outskirts of the town. The refinery accounts for nearly one-quarter of Iraq's oil and has the estimated capacity of producing 320,000 barrels of oil each day.
Al Jazeera reports that retaking control of the town will be key for Iraqi forces to establish a base to attack neighboring town of Tikrit, which was another town captured by ISIS fighters this past summer. more >>
Reports have emerged indicating that the Islamic State is planning to soon circulate its own form of currency in areas under its control, and plans to issue pure solid gold and silver gold dinar coins that it hopes will help devalue Western currencies.
As the British news website The Daily Mail reported on Monday, ISIS religious leaders recently announced to attendees of the group's controlled mosques that the organization will instate its own form of currency in an attempt to further solidify its caliphate.
The report states that the militants want to bring back and ancient form of the Islamic dinar, which were coins that was distributed in ancient Islamic societies that were first introduced in the year 634 AD under the caliphate of Uthman. more >>
President Barack Obama revealed that the war on terror group ISIS is entering a "new phase" that will involve Iraqi ground troops pushing back against the jihadists, who have captured several cities across Iraq and Syria. The president insisted that the 1,500 additional American troops sent to Iraq will only assist local soldiers and will not engage in combat, however.
"Rather than just try to halt ISIL's momentum, we're now in a position to start going on some offense. The airstrikes have been very effective in degrading ISIL's capabilities and slowing the advance that they were making. Now what we need is ground troops, Iraqi ground troops, that can start pushing them back," Obama told CBS' News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer on Sunday.
"What hasn't changed is our troops are not going to be engaged in combat." more >>
Iraqi officials said Sunday that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS or Islamic State terror group, was wounded in a U.S.-led airstrike on a convoy of militants in Iraq, and a security strategist said the attack killed his close aide.
While Pentagon officials said they cannot confirm whether al-Baghdadi was in the convoy that was targeted, Iraq's Defense and Interior Ministries issued statements saying the ISIS leader had been wounded, according to The Associated Press.
An Iraqi Interior Ministry intelligence official also cited informants within the terror group as saying that the ISIS leader was hit in the town of Qaim in Iraq's western Anbar province. more >>
U.S.-led airstrikes destroyed a convoy of 10 armed trucks in an attack on what was believed to be a gathering of Islamic State, of ISIS, leaders near Mosul in Iraq, but it is unclear if the Sunni terror group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was in the convoy. In Baghdad, dozens were killed in suicide attacks.
"I can confirm that coalition aircraft did conduct a series of air strikes yesterday evening in Iraq against what was assessed to be a gathering of ISIL leaders near Mosul," Reuters quoted Colonel Patrick Ryder, a Central Command spokesman, as saying Saturday.
At least 10 ISIS armed trucks were part of the convoy, but it is unclear if al-Baghdadi was also there. "We cannot confirm if ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was among those present," Ryder added. more >>