U.S. Pastor Saeed Abedini, who has now been in an Iranian jail for his Christian faith for nearly two-and-a-half years, is "shaken" as six of his fellow prisoners were executed around him this week, his wife, Naghmeh, says.
"Saeed was quite shaken as he had to witness 6 fellow prisoners being beaten and taken to be executed (hanged) that day," Naghmeh was quoted as saying in a report by American Center for Law and Justice on Saturday.
"It was a hard and dark day having witnessed that and seeing life being taken. The prison visit was also very hard as the families of those who were executed were crying and wailing," she added. more >>
Terror group ISIS has been bulldozing and destroying the ancient biblical city of Nimrud, Iraqi officials have said. The U.N. and the international community at large have condemned the "war crime," which Iraq has said is aimed at erasing the country's history.
BBC News reported that on Thursday ISIS began the destruction of the ancient Assyrian site, founded in the 13th Century BC.
"In a new crime in their series of reckless offenses they assaulted the ancient city of Nimrud and bulldozed it with heavy machinery, appropriating archaeological attractions dating back 13 centuries BC," the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO said. more >>
ISIS has claimed that a U.S. citizen carried out a suicide bomb attack with a truck in Iraq earlier this week that killed "dozens of security forces. While the terror group's claim has not yet been verified, if true it would be the first report of an American who has died fighting for ISIS.
"The brother Abu Dawud al-Amriki (may Allah accept him) launched himself with his explosives-laden truck," an ISIS bulletin read, according to AFP news agency. It added that "dozens" of Iraqi soldiers were killed in the attack in Samarra.
CNN, which also reported on the news, said that U.S. government officials haven't been able to confirm the identity of the attacker. Two senior Iraqi security officials confirmed that such an attack took place, but also did not know the identity of the suicide bomber. more >>
The father of Mohammed Emwazi, the former British citizen alleged to be the infamous masked executioner in the Islamic State's publicized beheading videos known as "Jihadi John," has labeled his own son as a "terrorist" and hopes that he dies and goes straight "to hell"
The Telegraph reports that since Emwazi was identified as "Jihadi John" last week, his 51-year-old father, Jassem Emwazi, has been so ashamed of his son that he's largely remained out of the public eye and has even failed to return to work at a supermarket 12 miles near the Iraqi border in Kuwait.
Abu Meshaal, a 40-year-old colleague of Jassem Emwazi, told The Telegraph about a recent conversation that he had with Emwazi, where Emwazi described the emotional distress he's had since his son first informed him that he was going to join the jihadi movement in 2013. more >>
The father of Mohammed Emwazi, the man believed to be the ISIS executioner nicknamed "Jihadi John," has said there's no proof that his son is a member of the terror group, and has hired a lawyer to defend himself against the claims.
"There is nothing that proves what is being circulated in the media, especially through video clips and footage, that the accused is my son, Mohammed, who is being referred to as the alleged executioner of Daesh (ISIS)," Jassem Emwazi Kuwaiti told the newspaper Al-Qabas, The Guardian reported.
"I have a message to the Kuwaiti people that many of the rumours are false," the father added. "Because I felt that some people have believed it, I have assigned a lawyer to defend me and to prove … that what is being said is untrue." more >>
A recent report reveals that the "grave humanitarian crisis" in Gaza is even worse now than it was during the Israel-Hamas war last summer. With an international embargo hampering reconstruction efforts, close to 1.8 million people are living among the destroyed buildings in the region, and facing a 70 percent unemployment rate.
"One of the most difficult parts of our trip was seeing how much people have lost hope," said Sami El-Yousef, Catholic Near East Welfare Association's regional director for Palestine and Israel. "They really could not see any bright spot at the end of the tunnel; the tunnel does not even exist for them."
El-Yousef added that the atmosphere among the locals is one of anger. more >>