ISIS forces have overtaken the largest Christian city in Iraq, forcing thousands of Christians and other religious minorities to flee and seek refuge in the northern Kurdish region.
ISIS militants issued a stern mandate to Christians living in the Mosul: "Convert to Islam, pay a fine, or face death by the sword."
The jihadists took over the cities of Qaraqosh, Mosul, Bartella, and Tall Kayf, as well as Hamadaniya. more >>
Pope Francis is sending a Cardinal to Iraq to offer support to Christians fleeing the country amid intensified persecution from Islamic militant group ISIS.
Cardinal Fernando Filoni, a former papal nuncio to Iraq, will go to the country to "show the Pope's solidarity with the suffering of the population," spokesman Federico Lombardi said, according to the American Foreign Press.
Pope Francis has been vocal about his support for Christians being persecuted and has called for the Catholic Church to offer help however it can. more >>
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced Friday that while the U.S. military might be conducting additional airstrikes Friday and over the weekend, he reiterated President Obama's statement on the humanitarian crisis in Iraq that the U.S. "will not be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq."
Earnest said during the White House daily briefing that the authorization Obama has given for military action is "very limited in scope," and didn't provide information on the possibility of additional military operations following the airstrike the Department of Defense confirmed Friday morning had already been carried out.
The protection of American military and diplomatic officials in Arbil is the administration's top priority, said Earnest, who added that their protection merits the use of military force. more >>
President Barack Obama announced Thursday night at the White House that the U.S. military will engage in targeted airstrikes against Islamic State terrorist convoys in Iraq if they advance toward the U.S. embassy in Baghdad or the consulate in Arbil.
Obama emphasized that while he believes the "U.S.cannot and should not intervene every time there's a crisis in the world," he said his administration is taking action in this case to help "avert a massacre."
"In recent days, these terrorists have continued to move across Iraq, and have neared the city of Arbil, where American diplomats and civilians serve at our consulate and American military personnel advise Iraqi forces," Obama said. "We're also providing emergency assistance to the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL." more >>
Trans World Radio and allied broadcasting ministries say they are "nursing a spark of Gospel witness" in the Middle East and South Asia, where Christians in these regions are under heightened cultural and political pressures – some of them violent.
The director of TWR's Arabic Ministry, whose identity is withheld for security reasons, said organizations such as TWR, SAT-7, Feba are using radio, TV and new media, to cross-promote programs and share resources and content as they reach out to these troubled lands.
"What gives hope to mothers who have lost their children in war?" asked the director. "What gives hope to men who have lost their life's savings and careers? What gives hope to children who have lost their innocence as they witness the bloody war around them? Only Jesus Christ can restore their broken hearts and souls, and we believe that media is a powerful tool to remind them every day of these firm facts." more >>
Israel withdrew its ground forces from Gaza Tuesday morning to start a 72-hour cease-fire mediated by Egypt, to engage in talks on ending a four-week conflict that has killed nearly 2,000 Palestinians and Israelis.
The temporary cease-fire was agreed to by both Israel and Hamas late Monday night. Israel has also said that its army completed its main objective of the ground assault, including the destruction of cross-border infiltration tunnels from Gaza.
"Following reports of a temporary cease-fire, negotiations for the implementation of the Egyptian initiative will begin. We call on the Israeli side and the Palestinian side to come to Cairo for open discussions on a permanent cease-fire, and we hope to see stability in the region soon," said the Egyptian Foreign Ministry in a statement, according to Haaretz. more >>