It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. -- Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Outbreak of Chicken Pox, Lice and Scabies in Assyrian Refugee Camp in Arbel

Ankawa Mall, an uncompleted building in Ankawa, Iraq, now housing nearly 1,800 Assyrian refugees. (See more photos from this refugee "camp" below)

The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

(AINA) -- Eight months after ISIS drove nearly 200,000 Assyrians from their villages in the Nineveh Plains north of Mosul, Assyrians are now battling disease in the refugee camps they are living in. Refugees are living in uncompleted buildings, with no walls, windows or dividers.

One location, called the Ankawa Mall, is a 7 story building which was never completed. It has open floors on all levels. There are 420 Assyrian families living there, about 1,800 people, mostly from Baghdede (Qaraqosh), Tel Afar and Bertella. According to Fr. Immanuel Callo, there is now an outbreak of chicken pox, lice and scabies in this building.

There a severe water shortage. Six tankers of water, each bringing at least 12,000 liters of water, are purchased daily. $200 per day is spent on the generator for the building.

There is also a critical shortage of bathrooms, with most floors having only 2 or 3.


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Outbreak of Chicken Pox, Lice and Scabies in Assyrian Refugee Camp in Arbel






Iraq Foreign Minister Backs Syria Fight Against 'Terror'

A picture released on March 24, 2015 by the official Syrian Arab News Agency shows President Bashar al-Assad (R) meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari in Damascus (AFP Photo).

The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Damascus (AFP) -- Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari met President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday in the first visit by a senior Baghdad official since Syria's conflict began in 2011.
Speaking after meeting Assad and his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem, Jaafari urged regional support for Damascus as it battles "terrorism".

"Arab countries should support Syria in its fight against terrorism," Jaafari said, calling on "neighbouring countries to stand with Iraq and Syria".

He said extremism "would reach all the countries if there is no cooperation".

Jaafari expressed the hope that his visit would "increase the level of cooperation between Syria and Iraq to counter the dangers threatening our brotherly nations".

In June 2014, Damascus announced its readiness to coordinate with Baghdad in order to face the threat posed by the Islamic State group, which has a strong presence in both countries.

Muallem emphasised the joint threat, saying that both countries were "in the same trench (fighting) against terrorism".

"We have great confidence... in the Iraqi leaders who will not spare any effort to support Syria and break the embargo imposed on it," Muallem said.

The Syrian minister also called for increased cooperation with Egypt, saying: "Syria, Egypt, and Iraq can change the way events are unfolding in the region."


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Iraq Foreign Minister Backs Syria Fight Against 'Terror'


Syria's Assad Urges United Front With Iraq Against Terrorism

Rebel fighters work on a computer to determine their target points ahead of an offensive against forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad at the frontline of Idlib city in northern Syria March 23, 2015. Picture taken March 23, 2015 (REUTERS/KHALIL ASHAWI)


The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

(Reuters) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called on Tuesday during talks with Iraq's foreign minister in Damascus for a united front with Baghdad in tackling terrorism as the two countries battle Islamic State militants on their territory.

The Shi'ite Muslim-led government in Baghdad, along with Iran and the Lebanese group Hezbollah, has been an important ally for Assad. Shi'ite Iraqi militias have fought on Assad's side against the insurgency spearheaded by Sunni Islamists.

But Iraqi armed forces are also the main partner on the ground for a U.S.-led coalition bombing the Islamic State militants in Iraq. Washington and its Western allies have dismissed the idea of cooperating directly with Assad in the same fight due to his actions during Syria's civil war.

Assad was quoted on his official Twitter account as saying "consultation and coordination between Syria and Iraq reinforces the successes of their people and their armed forces in the face of terrorism".

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, one of the most senior foreign officials to visit Damascus recently, said Syria "will emerge from the crisis stronger and strategic relations between the two countries will continue to evolve", state news agency SANA said.


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Syria's Assad Urges United Front With Iraq Against Terrorism

Islamic State Recruits 400 Children Since January: Syria Monitor



The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

(Reuters) -- Islamic State has recruited at least 400 children in Syria in the past three months and given these so-called "Cubs of the Caliphate" military training and hardline indoctrination, a monitoring group said on Tuesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the children, all aged under 18, were recruited near schools, mosques and in public areas where Islamic State carries out killings and brutal punishments on local people.

One such young boy appeared in a video early this month shooting dead an Israeli Arab accused by Islamic State of being as spy. A French police source said the boy might be the half-brother of Mohamed Merah, who killed three soldiers, a rabbi and three Jewish children in Toulouse in 2012.

"They use children because it is easy to brainwash them. They can build these children into what they want, they stop them from going to school and send them to IS schools instead," said Rami Abdulrahman, head of the British-based Observatory.

Islamic State declared a caliphate last year in territory it controls in Syria and Iraq and is being targeted by U.S.-led air strikes in both countries.

It has beheaded or shot dead Syrian civilians, combatants, foreign aid workers and journalists and has released videos appearing to show children witnessing or participating in some of the killings. The group persecutes people across sects and ethnicities who do not adhere to its ultra-hardline doctrine.

The group may be resorting to children because it has been having difficulties recruiting adults since the start of the year, with only 120 joining its ranks, Abdulrahman said.

This was partly due to tighter controls on the Turkish border, where foreign fighters tend to enter, he added.

Islamic State has encouraged parents to send children to training camps or has recruited them without their parents' consent, often luring them with money, said the Observatory, which tracks the conflict using sources on the ground.


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Islamic State Recruits 400 Children Since January: Syria Monitor


Monday, March 23, 2015

Will a Catholic School Fire a Theology Teacher for "Anti-Gay" Remarks? - Aleteia



The following excerpts are from Aleteia.org:

The future of a high school theology teacher suspended for public comments about gays and traditional marriage is in doubt. An online petition for Patricia Jannuzzi has sought donations for her family’s bills while her bishop released a statement that addressed only her previous and present job status.

An online petition on YouCaring.com said it represented Jannuzzi's family. According to the petition, Januzzi's lawyer told the teacher that her contract will not be renewed for the 2015-16 school year. The update followed a message in which Jannuzzi’s children said the teacher needs health benefits because she had breast cancer.


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Will a Catholic School Fire a Theology Teacher for "Anti-Gay" Remarks? - Aleteia



Report from Haiti: Nuns Serving Sick and Poor, Beaten and Robbed - Aleteia



The following excerpts are from Aleteia.org:

The clinic where I worked in LaPlaine is run by an order of Catholic Sisters. Five Sisters live in a simple convent above the clinic. The Sisters are from Cuba, Columbia, Spain, and central America and all are fluent in Haitian Creole.

These Sisters are joyful, hard-working, and accompany the poor by living with them. Hundreds of patients show up each day before the sun comes up to be examined and treated by the four Haitian physicians who work in the clinic. And the Sisters are the only ones in all of Haiti who are giving care to this lady with cancer.

I decided to work with these Sisters in February because the Sisters of the same order in Soleil (about two miles away) were being robbed so frequently during the previous eight months that they were forced to close their baby malnutrition program in Soleil. And the pediatric clinic in Soleil was almost devoid of patients several weeks ago because of the gang wars and shootings in the streets of Soleil. Mothers were simply too afraid to bring their children to the clinic. (On March 9 three more people were allegedly gunned down in Soleil and the police station in Soleil was also shot at from gunmen in a car.)

The day before I started working with the Sisters in LaPlaine in February, one of the Sisters from Colombia told me that the next day they were burying a 35-year-old Haitian doctor who worked for them. Her eyes welled up with tears as she explained to me how he was shot six times by men on four motorcycles who surrounded his car while he was on his way to work last week. She offered me his office explaining that the three other Haitian doctors did not want to work in his office.

And one week ago today in the middle of the night these same Sisters were awakened by three armed intruders who shoved and beat the Sisters with the little Columbian sister taking most of the beating. She was struck multiple times in the head and body. The bandits stole a little money from what was collected the day before at the clinic downstairs. The Sisters do not store large quantities of cash on site. They live very simply.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Assyrian Bishop to the Jihadists: Our Church Does Not Identify Itself With Any Armed Group



The following excerpts are from Fides News Agency:

Hasaka, Syria -- The Assyrian Church of the East -- to which hundreds of Christians in the Khabur valley taken hostage by jihadists of the Islamic State (Is) belong -- has chosen not to identify itself with any of the warring parties in the Syrian conflict and insists that Christians are "unrelated to the culture of weapons" and clearly states that no faction or paramilitary militia operating in Syria can present themselves as a military wing connected to the Assyrian Christian communities.

These are the contents of the letter that Assyrian Bishop Afram Athnil addressed to the leaders of Is to highlight the distances from all armed groups operating in the field - including self-defense militias formed by the Assyrians - and to demand the release of hundreds of Christian hostages still in the hands of jihadists. "In his letter - confirms to Agenzia Fides Syrian Catholic Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo - Bishop Afram has denied the existence of an alliance with Kurdish soldiers linked to the PKK, and hinted that the militias known by the acronym of 'Sotoro', also described in the international press as Assyrian Christian militias, have never had any mandate and approval by the Church".


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Assyrian Bishop to the Jihadists: Our Church Does Not Identify Itself With Any Armed Group


Report Says Nearly 650,000 Besieged in Syria

Assyrian Christians fleeing advancing Islamic State jihadists in the Syrian province of Hasakeh (Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)
Assyrian Christians fleeing advancing Islamic State jihadists in the Syrian province of Hasakeh
(Joseph Eid/AFP/Getty Images)

The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Nearly 650,000 Syrians are living in besieged communities in the country's civil war, more than three times the UN estimate, according to a new report that gives a graphic account of hundreds of deaths in areas the world has struggled for years to reach.

The report says Syria's government is responsible for the siege tactics that have led to deaths by starvation, dehydration and the lack of medical care. The document does not look at what it calls the short-term siege tactics used by Islamic State, which has beheaded and massacred its opponents in the area straddling the Syria-Iraq border currently under its control.

The "Slow Death" report, obtained in advance by Associated Press, is by the Syrian American Medical Society, which supports medical workers in besieged areas. The organisation presented its findings on Thursday to UN officials and to a closed-door meeting sponsored by the United States, Britain, France and other states and organised by Qatar.

The UN estimates that 212,000 Syrians live in besieged areas beyond the reach of humanitarian aid. But the new report, to be released next week, says the UN is too narrowly defining "besieged" and is inadvertently underplaying the crisis. It says more than 640,200 people are besieged. It also echoes claims by an increasing number of aid groups that the international response to the overall conflict, particularly by the deeply divided UN Security Council, has failed.


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Report Says Nearly 650,000 Besieged in Syria


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Christians in the Middle East May Be Getting More International Support - Aleteia



The following excerpts are from aleteia.org:

A flurry of international advocacy for Christians under siege in the Middle East has been complemented this week by intensified prayer on their behalf, as Syria marks four years of civil war and a Vatican official spoke in support of the use of force in the region.

Aid to the Church in Need asked Pope Francis to extend his 24 hours of worldwide Eucharistic Adoration on March 13-14 by one day — to March 15 — to pray with the Christians of Syria and the Middle East for an end to violence and war in the region.

On Wednesday, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on the international coalition to do more to prevent abductions of minorities, such as the hostage-taking of hundreds of Assyrian Christians in northeastern Syria. The resolution also supported the concept of a safe haven for Christians and others at risk in parts of Iraq.

And on Friday, the Holy See, together with the Russian Federation and Lebanon, presented a declaration in support of Christians and members of other communities in the Middle East. The statement from the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations in Geneva was presented during the assembly of the 28th Session of the UN’s Human Rights Council, reported Vatican Radio.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s representative in Geneva, in an interview with Crux's John Allen after the presentation, called for a coordinated international force to stop the “so-called Islamic State” in Syria and Iraq from further assaults on Christians and other minority groups.

We have to stop this kind of genocide,” said Archbishop Tomasi. “Otherwise we’ll be crying out in the future about why we didn’t so something, why we allowed such a terrible tragedy to happen.”


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Christians in the Middle East May Be Getting More International Support - Aleteia



Report: Hezbollah to send forces to fight alongside Iraq in Mosul, against ISIS - Middle East - Jerusalem Post

A Shi'ite cleric wearing military uniform with Hezbollah members..
 (photo credit:REUTERS)


The following excerpts are from The Jerusalem Post:

Hezbollah will send 800 men to fight alongside Iraqi forces against Islamic State for the control of Mosul, the London-based al-Araby al-Jadeed newspaper reported Sunday.

According to sources, following the battle over Tikrit, Tehran turned to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah with a joint Iraqi-Iranian request to support the fight against Islamic State in Mosul with trained fighters. An unnamed source told al-Jadeed that Nasrallah agreed to send about 800 men from elite units to participate in the anticipated battle.

The source cited the similarity between the topography of southern Lebanon and the mountainous terrain of Mosul as an advantage in the integration of Hezbollah forces into the fighting, saying the Lebanese men are already familiar and experienced fighters in both open areas and narrow streets.

The fighters will enter Iraq equipped with light gear and arms.

Once there, Iran will equip the men with heavy weapons.

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Report: Hezbollah to send forces to fight alongside Iraq in Mosul, against ISIS - Middle East - Jerusalem Post




Iraqi Kurds say ISIS used chemical weapons against troops | Fox News



The following excerpts are from FoxNews.com:

Iraqi Kurdish authorities said Saturday that their troops are being attacked by Islamic State fighters using chemical weapons.

The Kurdish Regional Security Council released a statement saying it has evidence showing the ISIS fighters used chlorine gas as a chemical weapon against Kurdish military forces known as peshmerga fighters.

The council said the alleged chemical attack took place on a road between Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul, and the Syrian border, as forces fought to seize a vital supply line used by the Sunni militants. It said its fighters later found "around 20 gas canisters" that had been loaded onto the truck involved in the attack.

Video provided by the council showed a truck racing down a road, white smoke pouring out of it as it came under heavy fire from peshmerga fighters. It later showed a white, billowing cloud after the truck exploded and the remnants of it scattered across a road.

An official with the Kurdish council told The Associated Press that dozens of peshmerga fighters were treated for "dizziness, nausea, vomiting and general weakness" after the attack. He spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to discuss the incident.

The assertion has yet to be verified, but such battlefield tactics are banned under the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention. [As if ISIS hasn't already shown their barbarism.]


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Iraqi Kurds say ISIS used chemical weapons against troops | Fox News


Saturday, March 14, 2015

A Letter to Obama From an Assyrian American Student

Assyrians in Chicago rally in support of Assyrians in Syria and Iraq.


The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

(AINA) -- Assyrians held a rally in Chicago yesterday to call attention to the plight of Assyrians in Syria and Iraq. In Iraq ISIS destroyed a third Assyrian archaeological site, the city of Khorsabad, more than 2700 years old. This comes on the heels of ISIS destroying the city of Nimrud, the Museum of Mosul, and the walls of the city of Nineveh.

In Syria, ISIS is still holding over 300 Assyrians who were captured in the first attacks on the Assyrian villages on February 23, which drove 3,000 Assyrians away, never to return. 6 months before that ISIS drove 200,000 Assyrians out of their homes in the Nineveh Plain in north Iraq, and they still have not returned, and most likely never will.

As they were being released, ISIS told the Assyrians from Syria to never return to their villages, else they would be killed. They are in Hasaka with only the clothes on their backs, all of their possessions lost forever, unreachable in their ISIS occupied village.

But the destruction of ancient Assyrian cities and artifacts in Iraq and Syria is the most devastating -- because of its symbolism. In destroying Assyrian archaeological and historical sites, ISIS is striking at the very root of Assyrian civilization, erasing all traces of their heritage and extirpating them from their lands.

Reine Hanna, an Assyrian college student in Chicago, penned the following letter to President Obama:

Dear Mr. President:

I woke this morning to find that your appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" was trending on every major social media platform. I watched the clip of the "Mean Tweets" segment - something I have seen previously featuring the likes of Snooki, Lil Wayne, and Justin Bieber. My initial reaction to the clip was in distaste, simply because I find it odd that the President of the United States would level himself with such celebrities. But I get it, I do: Mr. Kimmel even prefaced the clip by reminding us you are human, after all. With this in mind, I don't see any issues with you as our President golfing, submitting an NCAA bracket, or visiting late-night TV shows. I can also see why many Americans may have found your appearance last night so funny.

But you should know, Mr. President, that there are Americans that haven't laughed in weeks. Not since the attacks launched on the Assyrian towns in Syria on February 23, 2015. Actually, we haven't really had the heart to laugh since ISIL invaded the Nineveh Plain in the summer of 2014. After all, how can we? How can we laugh without knowing the fate of the nearly three-hundred innocent Assyrian men, women, and children that were taken hostage? After watching our ancient reliefs reduced to dust? How can we laugh after seeing that terrible image released just yesterday of a woman hanging dead from a log, dangling alongside her two young sons?

Mr. Kimmel is right, Mr. President - you are human. But as a human, how can you laugh, sir? While girls as young as your beautiful daughters are taken captive and sold as slaves? As a husband and a father, how can you allow such atrocities to occur to innocent women and children knowing you have the power to stop them?

During your interview, the recent events in Ferguson were addressed, at which point you stated, "What had been happening in Ferguson was oppressive and objectionable and was worthy of protest..." As an American of Assyrian background, I - like many others - feel that what has been happening to Assyrians in Iraq and Syria is beyond oppressive, undoubtedly objectionable, and most certainly worthy of protest. Even so, you have yet to make a direct statement related to the ongoing plight of Assyrians in the Middle East, and instead, have chosen to mask it, which consequently belittles our suffering. Please understand why we would be insulted by your inaction, capped with your appearance on Mr. Kimmel's show last night.

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A Letter to Obama From an Assyrian American Student



The Assyrian Christians Who Are Defying ISIS

A church in the Assyrian village of Abu Tina, Syria,
recently captured by Islamic State fighters, February 25, 2015.


The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

The persecution of Christians in the Middle East is a "once-in-a-thousand-year-crisis", but they are refusing to back down in the face of Islamic State, US author Johnnie Moore has said.

In an exclusive interview with Christian Today, Moore -- whose book 'Defying ISIS', published this weekend, is based on exhaustive research -- said that though ISIS militants have systematically targeted numerous religious minorities, including Shiite Muslims, "it is absolutely true that they [ISIS] have a particular interest in eliminating the Christian communities. It's overt, it's not hidden and it's not an exaggerated crisis."

The front page of the October edition of ISIS' online propaganda magazine Dabiq featured the Islamic State flag depicted as flying from the obelisk in St Peter's Square. In an accompanying article, the group renewed its threat to "conquer" Rome, and urged Muslims to kill "every crusader possible...wherever they can be found".

Just two weeks ago, militants targeted Assyrian Christians in the Khabour region, taking more than 200 hostage and killing at least 30. Jihadists then bulldozed the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, a site of such historical significance that an expert likened it to the Egyptian pyramids, and later also destroyed the city of Hatra -- another World Heritage Site considered to be one of the most important in the world.

The Assyrians have been targeted "solely because they are Christians", Moore said. "And it's sort of akin to what the Nazis did -- they've squeezed them out...The atrocities against women and children are incomprehensible."


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The Assyrian Christians Who Are Defying ISIS

Friday, March 13, 2015

ISIS Burned 1,500 Historical Manuscripts and Sold Assyrian Sculptures



The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Islamic State (ISIS) has burned 1,500 historical manuscripts in Iraq and sold Assyrian sculptures on the black market, the country's Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities revealed yesterday.

The Undersecretary of the Minister of Tourism Qais Hussein Rashid said that the province of Nineveh in northern Iraq, which is under ISIS control, is at the forefront of Iraqi provinces that contain the largest number of archaeological sites.

Speaking at a symposium held by the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism at the Council headquarters in Baghdad, under the slogan "ISIS: The Enemy of Humanity, History and Civilisation", Rashid pointed out that the militants illegally dug into the archaeological sites and sold the pieces they found, noting that his ministry was able to stop the sale of some Iraqi antiquities in some international auctions.

While he listed the sites that were destroyed, he reported that ISIS blew the shrine of Ibn Al-Atheer ten days after they occupied Mosul, and the Shrine of the Prophet Yunus, under which important Assyrian antiquities exist.

He added that the militants have sold Assyrian sculptures and burned 1,500 manuscripts, expressing his fears that ISIS may demolish 520 heritage houses in Mosul.

Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Adel Shershab, said ISIS had destroyed the archaeological areas in Iraq.

Shershab called on "friendly countries to take a genuine stand to restore the stolen antiquities."


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ISIS Burned 1,500 Historical Manuscripts and Sold Assyrian Sculptures


Assyrians Face Genocide in Iraq



The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

For ethnic Assyrians, who are being attacked by genocidal forces in the Middle East, these are surely the worst of times.

But it was not always so. Long ago, Assyria was a mighty kingdom based in Mesopotamia. And the story of Assyria, recounted in the Bible, is a colourful thread in the tapestry of world history.

The Assyrian empire, like all empires, crumbled and disappeared into the mists of time. But the descendants of the empire have cleaved to their ethnic identity and somehow managed to survive multiple attempts to wipe them out.

Many Assyrians have fled persecution in the Middle East, finding safe haven in North America and Europe. However, the hearts of many Assyrians remain in the Middle East. And Iraq holds particular meaning for most.

Although Iraq is a Muslim-majority country, it is the ancestral home of the Assyrian nation, which existed long before Islam was established. The vast majority of Iraqi Christians are of Assyrian ethnicity.

The Assyrians were among the first people to embrace Christianity, and they continue to speak a form of Aramaic, one of the languages likely spoken by Jesus Christ.

Many ethnic Assyrians identify themselves by religious denomination, Chaldean Catholic. According to CNEWA-Canada, a Catholic nongovernmental organization (NGO), approximately 66% of Assyrian Christians belong to the Chaldean Catholic Church. The rest of the Assyrian community belong to other denominations.


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Assyrians Face Genocide in Iraq


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Boko Haram swears formal allegiance to ISIS | Fox News



The following excerpts are FoxNews.com:

A message allegedly from the head of Nigeria’s Boko Haram terror group Saturday pledged his group’s allegiance to Islamic State.

The pledge to IS came in an Arabic audio message with English subtitles alleged to have come from Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau and posted Saturday on Twitter, according to the SITE Intelligence monitoring service.

"We announce our allegiance to the Caliph of the Muslims ... and will hear and obey in times of difficulty and prosperity, in hardship and ease, and to endure being discriminated against, and not to dispute about rule with those in power, except in case of evident infidelity regarding that which there is a proof from Allah," said the message. IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has declared himself the caliph.

The message was posted on Twitter, hours after Boko Haram was blamed for four suicide bomb attacks in northeastern Nigeria that killed at least 54 people and wounded more than 140 people.

The pledge comes as the Nigerian militants reportedly are massing in a northeastern town for a showdown with a multinational force that has dislodged them from a score of towns in recent weeks.


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Boko Haram swears formal allegiance to ISIS | Fox News


2 Australian teens stopped from joining ISIS at airport | Fox News



The following excerpts are FoxNews.com:

CANBERRA, Australia – Two Australian brothers aged 16 and 17 were stopped at Sydney Airport on suspicion that they were young jihadis headed to join the Islamic State group, officials said Sunday.

The young brothers from Sydney raised the suspicions of customs officials as they attempted to depart on Friday afternoon, Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton said.

He did not say where the pair were headed apart from a Middle Eastern "conflict zone." He also refused to say what was found in the boys' luggage that raised suspicion and led to the brothers beings reported to the airport's new counterterrorism unit.

"These two young men aged 16 and 17 are kids, not killers, and they shouldn't be allowed to go to a foreign land to fight then come back to our land eventually more radicalized," Dutton told reporters.

The boys' parents were "as shocked as any of us would be" to discover their sons had attempted to leave the country, Dutton said.

The boys had been radicalized over the Internet, he said. Dutton did not say who had paid the boys' air fares.


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2 Australian teens stopped from joining ISIS at airport | Fox News


Brick By Brick, Person By Person, ISIS is Erasing Assyrians From Their Homelands

The ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, which was destroyed by ISIS on March 5
The ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, which was destroyed by ISIS on March 5

The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

(AINA) -- Yesterday ISIS destroyed the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, a city dating back to 1400 B.C. and was one of the capitals of Assyria. A week before that ISIS destroyed the Museum of Mosul, which contained priceless Assyrian artifacts. A week before that ISIS attacked 35 Assyrian villages in Khabur Syria, driving 3,000 Assyrians away, never to return. 6 months before that ISIS drove 200,000 Assyrians out of their homes in the Nineveh Plain in north Iraq, and they still have not returned, and most likely never will.

As they were being released, ISIS told the Assyrians from Syria to never return to their villages, else they would be killed. They are in Hasaka with only the clothes on their backs, all of their possessions lost forever, unreachable in their ISIS occupied village.


The ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, which was destroyed by ISIS on March 5
The ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, which was destroyed by ISIS on March 5

But the destruction of ancient Assyrian cities and artifacts in Iraq and Syria is the most devastating -- because of its symbolism. In destroying Assyrian archaeological and historical sites, ISIS is striking at the very root of Assyrian civilization, erasing all traces of their heritage and extirpating them from their lands.

Renya Benjamin, an Assyrian woman from Hamilton, Canada, visited Nimrud in 2012. Upon hearing about the destruction of this irreplaceable world cultural heritage site, the city of her ancestors, she said:

Nimrud, Assyria. My favourite place in the world was destroyed by ISIS today. I will forever be thankful to the Assyrians of Baghdede [Qaraqosh] for taking me to visit this majestic place in 2012. And I will forever be devastated in knowing that my children will never experience the same pride I felt walking on the cuneiform etched tiled floor and touching the majestic Lamassu that my king once touched, 3000 years ago.


The ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, which was destroyed by ISIS on March 5
The ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud, which was destroyed by ISIS on March 5

According to Renya, during her visit one of the local Arab tribal men who was a guard told her how happy he was that she came, as these were her ancestral artifacts. The men from the same tribe protected the site during the fall of Saddam when looters tried to access it.


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Brick By Brick, Person By Person, ISIS is Erasing Assyrians From Their Homelands


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Iraqi PM: Iraq 'Must Take Charge' on ISIS


The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Iraq's prime minister on Sunday said his nation must lead the charge against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

"We have to take charge of what we are doing as these are Iraqi lives at stake," Haider al-Abadi told Martha Raddatz on ABC's "This Week." "We have to stop ISIS for our own safety. The world has to stop them for their own safety."

Iraq has struggled to reclaim territory it has lost to ISIS. It is currently waging a second offensive to regain the city of Tikrit after a failed attempt in June and July 2014. The latest campaign lacks valuable U.S. air support.

Abadi said his government expects a tough battle against ISIS in the months ahead. The foreign dignitary hopes to retake Tikrit before tackling Mosul, another major city.

"This is a very, very dangerous opponent if they're allowed to continue," Abadi said of ISIS.


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Iraqi PM: Iraq 'Must Take Charge' on ISIS