U.S. President Barack Obama announced Friday that key NATO allies are prepared to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the Islamist terror group ISIS in Iraq, after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's meeting with diplomats from 10 countries on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Wales.
"Key NATO allies stand ready to confront this terrorist threat through military, intelligence and law enforcement as well as diplomatic efforts," Obama told reporters Friday, the last day of the summit.
ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, is an al-Qaeda offshoot which has gained control over vast swaths of Syria and Iraq. Also known as the Islamic State and ISIL, the group is aiming to form an Islamic emirate in the Levant, a region also known as the Eastern Mediterranean, through "jihad." Its men have killed hundreds of people in Iraq as well as beheaded two American journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff. more >>
The top aide to the Islamic State's head leader was killed along with two other senior ISIS militants in an airstrike in the Ninewa province, the Iraqi Defense Ministry confirmed Thursday.
While NBC News is reporting that senior security officials confirmed that a U.S. airstrike carried out the attack, Iraqi Army General Arm Babaker Zebari claims it was an Iraqi warplane that killed the member of leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's inner circle, Abu Hajar al-Suri, in ISIS, also known as ISIL, stronghold of Tal Afar just west of Mosul.
Pastor Behnam Irani, an evangelical Christian leader from Iran who is already serving six years in prison, has reportedly been hit by 18 new charges, including one of "spreading corruption on Earth," which carries the death penalty.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas told BosNewsLife the group is "deeply concerned by the new charges against Pastor Irani," especially the charge of "spreading corruption on Earth."
Thomas added that the charges made against Irani and other Christian leaders are "tantamount to an indictment of Christianity itself and mark a renewed escalation in Iran's campaign against Persian Christians under the Rouhani presidency." more >>
A Christian leader in the Holy Land has said that a "two state solution" for Israel and Palestine is the only way to achieve long-term peace in the region as the truce held out a second week; but another warned that reconciliation between the two societies remains a far away goal.
"It would be wonderful to see two states developed as this is the only way to keep lasting peace and for Islamic radicalism to be contained," Munir S. Kakish, chairman council of Local Evangelical Churches in the Holy Land, told The Christian Post in an email on Thursday. "A two state solution is good for both Israel and Palestine."
The long-term ceasefire agreed on by Israel and Hamas last week was brokered by Egypt and made in the hopes of stopping the fighting, which began in July and killed over 2,200 people, mostly civilians. more >>
Iraqi born pastor Jalil Dawood of the Arabic Church of Dallas, who, along with other Christian leaders will be holding a rally on Sept. 14 in support of Iraqis who are being persecuted by the Islamic State, says there are five things Americans can do today to help their brothers and sisters in Christ.
"What Americans can do today is write to their representatives and tell them the U.S. government needs to take more aggressive action toward the Islamic State, because this group is not only a threat to Iraq, it's a threat to America, eventually. And we need to deal with them now, before it's too late," Dawood told The Christian Post.
"I heard the president say last week that he doesn't have a strategy. Well, ISIS' strategy is to kill us. Their strategy is to convert us and kill us," he asserted. more >>
Extremist Muslim terrorist group ISIS is reportedly an army of some 10,000 militants worth more than $2 billion generated primarily through a multimillion dollar-a-day operation selling oil, hostages and other spoils from the organization's criminal activities.
The Guardian has reported that just days before ISIS took over Mosul, Iraqi forces, according to a senior intelligence officials, uncovered a trove of information on the group's structure, fighters, finances, government informants and other information on 160 flash drives.
"We were all amazed and so were the Americans," the senior intelligence official told The Guardian. "None of us had known most of this information." more >>