A group of 230 Assyrian Christians held hostage by Islamic State terrorists since February might be closer to gaining their freedom, Syrian Catholic Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo has said, revealing that the jihadists have agreed to significantly lower their demands in the negotiations.
"In the first attempted contact through intermediaries there was talk of an exorbitant request, amounting to 23 million dollars (about 100 thousand dollars per hostage) to free Christian prisoners," Hindo, who is the head of the archieparchy of Hassaké-Nisibis, told Fides News Agency.
After it was made clear to the jihadists that collecting so much money is impossible for the Assyrian community, they eventually agreed to ask for "much, much less," though Hindo did not share the precise sum. more >>
A New York City pastor known for traveling around the world to deliver aid and comfort to afflicted communities and persecuted Christians was most recently in Reyhanli, Turkey, aiding refugees fleeing civil war in nearby Syria.
"My heart goes out to the thousands of refugees fleeing Syria with just the clothes on their backs," Pastor William "Bill" Devlin, who goes by PB, said in statement emailed to The Christian Post on Sunday. more >>
Turkish ground forces and warplanes invaded Iraq on Tuesday in what officials described as a "short-term" measure to hunt down Kurdistan Worker's Party rebels accused of killing at least 14 Turkish police officers in a bomb attack in the eastern Igdir province.
"Turkish security forces crossed the Iraqi border as part of the hot pursuit of PKK terrorists who were involved in the most recent attacks," a government source told AFP news agency.
"This is a short-term measure intended to prevent the terrorists' escape." more >>
A New York City pastor who also travels internationally as a missionary recently shared with The Christian Post the kinds of stories he has been hearing from refugees who fled war-torn Syria while volunteering alongside Muslim expatriates at a clinic in Turkey.
William Devlin, who also goes by PB or Pastor Bill, is co-pastor of Infinity Bible Church in New York City's South Bronx. He is also president of grassroots organization REDEEM! and co-chair of Right To Worship NYC, which advocated for the city to allow Christians to conduct church services in public schools during off-hours.
The Christian Post previously reported on Devlin's humanitarian trips to Sudan to meet with persecuted Christian Meriam Ibrahim and to Iraq to aid Yazidis fleeing Islamic State persecution. More recently, Devlin was briefly detained by authorities during a prison visit with two Presbyterian pastors in Sudan. A network of donors provide the financial support for Devlin's global outreach and the medical supplies he delivers to those in need, the minister previously told CP. more >>
An Iraqi woman, believed to be from the Yazidi-Kurdish minority, has reportedly shot dead a senior Islamic State commander "Abu Anas," who is said to have forced her to become a sex slave and gifted her to other men.
Iraqi satellite TV network Alsumaria News did not reveal the name of the woman, but Kurdistan Democratic Party spokesman Saeed Mamouzini confirmed that Anas was killed on Saturday near Mosul in Iraq.
The IS commander is believed to have forced the woman into sex slavery, and used her as a "gift" for other militants. more >>
Pope Francis has urged every Catholic parish and religious community in Europe to take in at least one refugee family and help Europe with its migrant crisis, noting that the Vatican would take two families itself. With hundreds of thousands of refugees making their way toward Western Europe, countries such as Germany and Austria are said to be near the "tipping point" of how much they can help.
"May every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe, take in one family" Francis told the crowds at St. Peter's Square on Sunday.
"Before the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees fleeing death in conflict and hunger and are on a journey of hope, the Gospel calls us to be close to the smallest and to those who have been abandoned," he added, according to Vatican Radio. more >>