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|ISIS Beheads 21 Christians, Promises to "Conquer Rome, by Allah's
by Jordan Schachtel
The Islamic State terror group released a video on Sunday showing the Islamic jihadis beheading 21 Egyptian Christians who were previously kidnapped in Libya.
The Egyptian Copts, who were dressed in prisoner-like orange jump suits, were lined up along a beach and abruptly beheaded in the graphic five-minute video.
The Islamic State’s Al Hayat Media, the group that has published the previous beheading videos in the Middle East, produced the Libya video titled, “A Message Signed With Blood To The Nation Of The Cross.”
“All praise is due to Allah the strong and mighty,” said an ISIS jihadist dressed in military fatigues in American-accented English. “And may blessings and peace be upon the ones sent by the sword as a mercy to all the worlds,” he added.
The masked ISIS member continues:
Oh people, recently you have seen us on the hills of Al-Sham and Dabiq’s plain, chopping off the heads that have been carrying the cross for a long time, and today, we are on the south of Rome, on the land of Islam, Libya, sending another message.
All crusaders: safety for you will be only wishes especially if you are fighting us all together. Therefore we will fight you all together. The sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah we will mix it with your blood.
After the ISIS leader finishes speaking, his fellow terrorists then commence the beheading of the 21 Egyptian Christians. “And we will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission, the promise of our Prophet, peace be upon him,” The militant leader says after his comrades slaughter the Christian hostages.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi immediately brought in his national defense council after being notified about the brutal murder of the twenty-one Egyptians. “It is with deep sorrow that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi mourns the Egyptian victims of an abhorrent act of terrorism in Libya and offers his deepest condolences to the Egyptian people for their grave loss,” said a statement from the Egyptian president’s office.
Libya has largely fallen into a state of civil war and complete lawlessness following the U.S.-led effort that ultimately deposed its late autocrat Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Islamist militias, some of which have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, have been fighting fierce battles against the forces of secular, anti-Islamist Libyan General Khalifa Haftar.
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ISIS militants reportedly burn to death 45 people in western Iraqi town
Islamic State militants reportedly have burned to death 45 people in the western Iraqi town of al-Baghdadi on Tuesday, just five miles away from an air base staffed by hundreds of U.S. Marines.
The identities of the victims are not clear, the local police chief told the BBC, but some are believed to be among the security forces that have been clashing with ISIS for control of the town. ISIS fighters reportedly captured most of the town last week.
Col. Qasim Obeidi, pleading for help from the Iraqi government and international community, said a compound that houses families of security personnel and officials is now under siege.
The reports come days after ISIS released a video purportedly showing the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians along a beach in Libya, sparking an international outcry, including commendation from Pope Francis, who called the killings "barbaric.”
Earlier this month, ISIS released another video showing a fleet of vehicles flying the black ISIS flag and driving through what is believed to be the streets of Benghazi, Libya. The video shows the vehicles being cheered by men, women and children as they drive by.
On Friday, a media group linked to ISIS released a four-minute video titled "Peshmerga Captives in Kirkuk Province,” which purportedly showed Kurdish prisoners -- imprisoned in iron cages -- being driven around on trucks in Iraq, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute.
The imagery of the prisoner convoy in orange uniforms was similar to the scenes of an execution of a Jordanian pilot. In a video released by ISIS two weeks ago, Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh was shown being burned alive in a cage.
Al-Baghdadi, which is about 50 miles northwest of Ramadi in Anbar province, is located about five miles from Ain al-Asad air base, where 400 U.S. military personnel are training Iraqi soldiers and Sunni tribesmen to take on ISIS. The base was raided last week by a small band of fighters, in what some experts believe may have been a probe in preparation for a full-scale attack.
The base has been the target of sporadic mortar fire in past weeks, and the jihadist army has been moving forces from its strongholds in Syria to Anbar Province, possibly setting the stage for a major clash with forces on the base that is now the sole bulwark between ISIS and Baghdad.
There are currently nearly 2,600 U.S. forces in Iraq, including about 450 who are training Iraqi troops at three bases across the country, including al-Asad. Forces from other coalition countries conduct the training at the fourth site, in the northern city of Irbil.
But even if Islamic State militants close in on the base, taking it would require a massive force, that would present a target for airstrikes, retired Col. Thomas Lynch, a National Defense University fellow, told Fox News.
Report: Iranian leader Khamenei sent Obama a secret letter
by Sandra Maler
Citing an Iranian diplomat, The Wall Street Journal reports that the Iranian cleric had written to Obama in recent weeks in response to a presidential letter sent in October.
REUTERS - Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has responded to overtures from U.S. President Barack Obama amid nuclear talks by sending him a secret letter, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.
Citing an Iranian diplomat, the paper said the Iranian cleric had written to Obama in recent weeks in response to a presidential letter sent in October.
Obama's letter suggested the possibility of U.S.-Iranian cooperation in fighting Islamic State if a nuclear deal was secured, the paper said, quoting the diplomat.
Khamenei's letter was "respectful" but noncommittal, it quoted the diplomat as saying.
Both the White House and the Iranian mission at the United Nations declined to comment on the report.
Khamenei said this week he could accept a compromise in the nuclear talks and gave his strongest defense yet of Iranian President Hassan Rohani's decision to negotiate with the West, a policy opposed by powerful hardliners at home.
The nuclear talks with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany are aimed at clinching an accord that would ease Western concerns that Tehran could pursue a covert nuclear weapons program, in return for the lifting of sanctions that have ravaged the Iranian economy.
Negotiators have set a June 30 final deadline for an accord, and Western officials have said they aim to agree on the substance of such a deal by March.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is due to address the U.S. Congress on Iran on March 3 - to the annoyance of the Obama administration - has vowed "to foil this bad and dangerous agreement."
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