Terror group ISIS has demanded a $6.6 million ransom for the release of a 26-year-old American woman it captured over a year ago while she was doing humanitarian relief work in Syria.
The woman, whose identity was not released due to a request from her family, is the third of at least four Americans who are known to be held captive by ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, ABC News reported on Tuesday. The militants are also demanding the release of Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT-trained neuroscientist convicted by the U.S. in 2010 of trying to kill two American officials two years before.
ISIS, which has captured significant territory in Iraq and Syria, beheaded American journalist James Foley last week, and warned President Barack Obama to stop air strikes against ISIS targets. more >>
Israel and militant group Hamas have agreed to a long-term ceasefire in the Gaza Strip aimed at ending the conflict that has killed over 2,200 people. Israel has agreed to ease its economic blockade of Gaza, while Hamas has said it will stop firing rockets into Israeli territory.
The Associated Press reported that the truce was holding as of Wednesday. The open-ended deal was brokered by Egypt, with hopes it will stop the fighting, which besides the heavy death toll, has led to widespread destruction in Gaza.
"Israel has accepted an Egyptian proposal for a complete and unlimited-in-time ceasefire. Israel accepted already the Egyptian proposal on July 15. Israel has always supported an unconditional, open-ended ceasefire," an Israeli government official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. more >>
Close to 200 Hollywood stars, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, have signed a statement condemning the "ideologies of hatred" of militant group Hamas, and called for peace and justice in Gaza.
"We, the undersigned, are saddened by the devastating loss of life endured by Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza. We are pained by the suffering on both sides of the conflict and hope for a solution that brings peace to the region," begins the statement, signed by the stars on the website Creative Community For Peace.
"While we stand firm in our commitment to peace and justice, we must also stand firm against ideologies of hatred and genocide which are reflected in Hamas' charter, Article 7 of which reads, 'There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!'" the statement continues. more >>
"Zionist" is not a term I would use to describe myself, at least, not before last Tuesday. As I found myself huddled and shaking in a bomb shelter along the Israel/Gaza Strip border as missiles fired overhead, my perspective started to change.
Last week, I participated in a "Solidarity with Israel" trip hosted by the National Religious Broadcasters and hosted by the nation's Ministry of Tourism. The trip served not only as a pilgrimage of personal faith renewal, but my life-changing encounter with a nation I have always supported but never fully understood why. Until now.
Tours of Jerusalem's Old City were thrilling, the delicious Middle East foods were unending, and the Israelis I met were warm and welcoming to everyone who came in peace. As I stood on a balcony overlooking Jerusalem, I cried as my visual senses absorbed the Garden of Gethsemane and the Mount of Olives reminding me of the ransom Jesus Christ had paid for my sins. more >>
A Catholic priest described his shock at the conditions Iraqi Christian refugees face, saying that they were left helpless and angry at government soldiers who abandoned them to ISIS extremists after the militants began their attacks.
"The people are angry because the government just gave up on them. They told us that, in Mosul, where there had normally been a presence of 60,000 soldiers, after the onslaught of ISIS, in only a matter of hours, these soldiers abandoned them, laying down their weapons," said Fr Rami Wakim, the secretary to Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregoire III Laham, according to The Catholic Herald on Monday.
Last week, the priest accompanied a delegation of Catholic and Orthodox patriarchs to Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish region of the country, where scores of persecuted minorities, including many Christians, are fleeing to. more >>
Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, a 23-year-old British rapper who reportedly walked out of his family's £1 million home in Maida Vale, West London, last year to join militants in Syria after telling them he was "leaving everything for the sake of Allah," is being investigated as a key suspect in the beheading of journalist James Foley.
A senior western intelligence official who was not identified told Fox News that Bary is being eyed as Foley's executioner. The report noted that the Sunday Times and Sunday People listed Bary as a member of a group of at least three British-born ISIS fighters that former hostages call "The Beatles."
The Sunday Times said Britain's two major intelligence agencies, MI5 and MI6, had identified the man who beheaded Foley but had not publicly revealed this information. more >>