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ISIS Destroys Oldest Christian Monastery in Iraq

St. Elijah's Monastery is now 'a pile of rubble'

(Newser) - The oldest Christian monastery in Iraq has been reduced to a field of rubble, another apparent victim of the Islamic State's relentless destruction of ancient cultural sites. Satellite photos obtained exclusively by the AP confirm the worst fears of church authorities and preservationists—St. Elijah's Monastery of Mosul... More »

UN: ISIS Has 3.5K Slaves in Iraq, Slaughtered Thousands More

Report documents 'staggering' death toll, murder of child soldiers

(Newser) - The United Nations released some disturbing numbers Tuesday related to ISIS activity in Iraq, noting that its actions may "amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide," CBS News reports. In the period from Jan. 1, 2014, to Oct. 31, 2015, more than 18,800 civilians... More »

Americans Missing in Iraq: Taken From Brothel?

Details from reported kidnapping case still murky

(Newser) - Conflicting reports still abound about a group of Americans reported kidnapped in Baghdad over the weekend, as Iraqi security forces infiltrated the Dora neighborhood Monday, going house to house in search of clues, the AP reports. Even the number of Americans missing is still unclear: Local media has reported three—... More »

'Several' Americans Missing in Iraq

Three have been kidnapped, according to local media

(Newser) - The US Embassy in Baghdad confirms that "several" Americans are missing in Iraq after local media reported that three Americans had been kidnapped in the Iraqi capital. US Embassy spokesman Scott Bolz said Sunday that "We are working in full cooperation with Iraqi authorities to locate the missing... More »

US-Led Airstrike Wipes Out ISIS Cash

Bombing in Mosul destroys 'millions,' says Pentagon

(Newser) - In what CNN frames as an "extremely unusual" move, a US airstrike on Sunday reportedly destroyed a massive amount of money at an ISIS storage facility in Mosul, Iraq. It's "probably" the biggest strike against the militant group's cash sites to date, a Pentagon official tells... More »

10 Killed as Gunmen Bomb, Storm Iraq Mall

Hostages reportedly being held in Baghdad's Jawhara Mall

(Newser) - Gunmen set off a car bomb at the entrance to a mall in mainly Shiite eastern Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 10 people and wounding 25 as the attackers raced inside and took hostages, Iraqi officials said. That number is likely to fluctuate as the story develops: Al Jazeera... More »

ISIS Leaders Connected to Paris Attacks Killed in Airstrikes

One 'was actively planning additional attacks against the West'

(Newser) - In the past month, the US and fellow coalition members have killed 10 ISIS leaders—including two linked to the deadly Paris attacks—with airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, Reuters reports. Charaffe al Mouadan was killed Dec. 24. He had a connection to the suspected leader of the Paris attacks,... More »

Iraqi Forces Claim Huge Victory Against ISIS

Military says it's now in control of Ramadi

(Newser) - Iraqi forces have reclaimed the central government compound in the city of Ramadi from ISIS, marking what a US commander says is the greatest achievement yet from a force that fled the city in May . The military says it's now in complete control of the compound, which marks the... More »

ISIS Chief to Israel: 'We Are Getting Closer'

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi releases new video

(Newser) - The Islamic State group on Saturday released a new message purportedly from its reclusive leader, claiming that his self-styled "caliphate" is doing well despite an unprecedented alliance against it, threatening Israel, and criticizing the recently announced Saudi-led Islamic military coalition against terrorism. In the 24-minute audio, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi... More »

American Couple Helps 149 Iraqi Christians Escape ISIS

They flew 25 refugee families to Slovakia this month

(Newser) - Nearly 150 refugees from Iraq—including many children—got off a private jet in Slovakia on Dec. 10, ready to start a new life far from ISIS attacks, ABC News reports. The 25 families are Christians who fled their homes to escape persecution and violence. They were aided in their... More »

Guy Travels From Baghdad to Collect US Lottery Jackpot

Fearing kidnapping, he's keeping his name secret

(Newser) - Oregon lottery officials generally announce the names of jackpot winners, but they've decided to make an exception for a man who fears he could be killed or kidnapped if people back home in Baghdad find out about his $6.4 million win. The winner, an Iraqi Kurd, traveled to... More »

House Tightens Controls on Visa-Free Travel to US

The legislation was supported by Republicans and Democrats alike

(Newser) - Driven by the Paris terror attacks, the House voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to tighten controls on travel to the US and require visas for anyone who's been in Iraq or Syria in the previous five years. The legislation takes aim at the "visa waiver" program that allows citizens of... More »

Iraqis' Conspiracy Theory: the US Is Helping ISIS

Officials say idea is spread by Iran to erode US influence

(Newser) - A Shiite commander in northern Iraq says the Islamic State is "almost finished" and could be defeated in days "if only America would stop supporting them." Wait, what? The Washington Post reports many Iraqi fighters and civilians in fact believe that the US is helping ISIS, even... More »

US Special Ops Force Being Sent to Fight ISIS in Iraq, Syria

'We are acting to defeat [ISIS] at its core'

(Newser) - The US will be sending an unspecified number of special operations troops to Iraq to "put even more pressure" on ISIS in both Iraq and Syria, NBC News reports. "These special operators will over time be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence, and capture [ISIS] leaders,... More »

ISIS Tunnels Found Under Iraqi City

Video footage shows extensive network beneath Sinjar

(Newser) - Video newly obtained by the AP sheds light on ISIS strategy under the Iraqi town of Sinjar: Militants from the Islamic State built a network of tunnels, complete with sleeping quarters, electricity, boxes of US-made ammunition, antibiotics, and sandbag fortifications. The video footage of the tunnels was uncovered by Kurdish... More »

Officials: ISIS Working Hard to Get Chemical Weapons

'The macabre imagination of the masterminds is limitless': French PM

(Newser) - French PM Manuel Valls issued a new warning in front of the lower house of France's Parliament Thursday, nearly a week after the Paris terror attacks . "Terrorism hit France not because of what it is doing in Iraq and Syria … but for what it is. We know... More »

Iraq Warned of Attacks Before Paris Assault

Two Iraqi officials say France was given details

(Newser) - Senior Iraqi intelligence officials warned members of the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group of imminent assaults by the militant organization just one day before last week's deadly attacks in Paris killed 129 people, the AP has learned. Iraqi intelligence sent a dispatch saying the group's leader,... More »

Obama: No Ground Troops to Fight ISIS' 'Face of Evil'

President says we'll keep calm and carry on with current airstrike strategy

(Newser) - Friday's terror attacks in Paris rocked the world, but President Obama appeared steadfast Monday in his overall strategy to go after the Islamic State. In a presser held after Turkey's G20 summit, Obama said that even though ISIS is "the face of evil" and that Paris' attacks... More »

Kurds Launch Huge Anti-ISIS Offensive

Iraq battle could sever group's main supply line

(Newser) - Kurdish Iraqi fighters, backed by the US-led air campaign, launched an assault Thursday aiming to retake the strategic town of Sinjar, which ISIS overran last year in an onslaught that caused the flight of tens of thousands of Yazidis and first prompted the US to launch airstrikes against the militants.... More »

Freed ISIS Captives Detail the Torture They Endured

They were preparing for their executions when they heard voices

(Newser) - With their executions set to take place within hours, Islamic State prisoners were writing what were to be their last letters to loved ones when Kurdish and US forces changed their fates. As helicopters loomed overhead, Muhammad Hassan Abdullah al-Jibouri, 35, remembers hearing voices speaking Kurdish and English before the... More »

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