Update March 22, 2016, 9:30 a.m. ET: The death toll of the Brussels explosions has increased to 34, with 20 killed in the subway explosion and 14 in the airport blasts, according to Belgian media reports. Another 170 people were reportedly injured.
Mass suicide attacks have hit the Zaventem Airport in Brussels, Belgium, along with a city metro station, with at least 28 people reported to have been killed so far.
Sky News reported that Brussels has been locked down, while several cities across Europe, including in the U.K., Netherlands, France and Germany, have been put on high alert, with security personnel sent to key locations and transport hubs. more >>
Israel has granted approximately 850 Palestinian Christians who live in the Gaza Strip permits allowing them to visit Jerusalem for Easter.
"Muhammad al-Maqadma [spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs] said the permits were the result of 'dedicated efforts' by Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh in order to enable hundreds of Christians to celebrate the holidays within a span of 45 days," reported the Middle Eastern publication Ma'an News.
"This is the first time such a large number of Christians from Gaza received permits to travel to the West Bank and Jerusalem," al-Maqadma told Ma'an Saturday. more >>
Several persecution watchdog groups have reacted to Sec. of State John Kerry's official recognition of the genocide being carried out against Christians and other minorities at the hands of the Islamic State terror group by calling it an important first step in providing urgently needed help and protection for decimated communities, if the U.S. follows up with real action.
Open Doors USA President and CEO David Curry said the biggest hope in the recognition of the gravity of the situation facing Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims in Iraq and Syria is that it will prompt Western governments to act.
"Our hope is that this declaration of genocide will be a call to action for the United States and other Western governments to increase their aid on behalf of these persecuted populations," Curry said in a statement. more >>
A Chaldean Catholic bishop in Syria has warned that two-thirds of all Christians in the war-torn country have left since the conflict began in March 2011, which means close to a million believers have fled the country.
Antoine Audo told reporters that there were close to 1.5 million Christians in Syria in 2011, but five years later there are now only around 500,000 left.
Christians and millions of other Syrian civilians have left the country to escape the ongoing civil war, which is being waged between the government of President Bashar al-Assad, various Islamic rebel groups trying to take out his regime, and the Islamic State terror organization, which joined the battle for control in 2014. more >>
Radical Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria have killed close to 500 predominantly Christian farmers in Benue state in central Nigeria in a series of attacks over the last month, and are reportedly still hiding out among villagers, making survivors too afraid to return and bury the dead.
"In the last three weeks, Aku, Odugbeho, Aila, Okokolo and Ikobi have been utterly destroyed and over 300 people have been killed," Steven Enada, a development advocate campaigning against the killing of the Agatu people, told Morning Star News.
"We have corpses littered in the field like a war fought in the Roman Empire by Emperor Nero," he added, with survivors too afraid to return to bury the dead. more >>
The terrorist organization known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is recruiting children to fill the ranks of their armed forces.
In response to setbacks over the past couple months from US-led airstrikes, ISIS, also known as Daesh, IS or ISIL, has stepped up its usage of child soldiers, according to the Middle East media outlet ARA News.