An al-Qaeda splinter group known as ISIS — the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham — is on a killing rampage in both Iraq and Syria. ISIS is a faction even more Radical and deadly than the main terror network formerly run by Osama bin Laden. Indeed, the ISIS jihadists see al Qaeda as too moderate, and they are Hell-bent on spreading fear and chaos throughout the region.
Most Americans know very little about ISIS. But it’s time to learn. At the moment, I’m hard at work trying to finish writing a new international political thriller about the ISIS threat to the stability of the Middle East. It is due to my publisher, Tyndale, on June 25th. But it isn’t slated to be released next March.
In the meantime, here is some background, and here are the latest developments. In recent days, ISIS has:
Seized violent control of Mosul (ancient Ninevah), Iraq’s second largest city
Seized control of Mosul’s central bank, reportedly looting $429 million, arguably making ISIS the world’s richest terror group
Seized more Iraqi towns and territory, and is reportedly now “sweeping towards Baghdad,” according to the New York Times. (see below)
Thousands of Mosul residents are fleeing from their homes, many leaving in the middle of the night, despite curfews and checkpoints.
I’m hearing reports from friends in Iraq that Christians are fleeing from Mosul, fearful that ISIS terrorists may slaughter them.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has declared a “state of emergency.”
Please pray for the Christians in Iraq, for the Lord to give them courage and strength to stand strong for Him amidst the chaos. Please pray for all the residents of Mosul, and all Iraqis, who see a new reign of terror falling upon them. And it’s not just Iraq. ISIS terrorists are wreaking havoc and on a killing rampage in Syria, too. So please pray for the Christians in Syria, and for the Lord to establish calm and stability and safety in Syria and Iraq, and stop the ISIS killers, along with all the other terror groups that have been unleashed.
Here are more details on the latest developments:
“Sunni militants who overran the northern Iraqi city of Mosul as government forces crumbled in disarray extended their reach in a lightning advance on Wednesday, pressing south toward Baghdad,” reported the New York Times. “They occupied facilities in the strategic oil refining town of Baiji and seized the city of Tikrit with little resistance, security officials and residents said.”
“By late Wednesday there were unconfirmed reports that the Sunni militants, many aligned with the radical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, were battling loyalist forces at the northern entrance to the city of Samarra, about 70 miles north of Baghdad,” the Times noted. “The city is known for a sacred Shiite shrine that was bombed in 2006, during the height of the American-led occupation, touching off sectarian mayhem between the Sunni minority and Shiite majority. An influential Iraqi Shiite cleric, Moktada al-Sadr, called for the formation of a special force to defend religious sites in Iraq. The authorities in neighboring Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, canceled all visas and flights for pilgrims to Baghdad and intensified border security, Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency reported.”
The Times added: “The remarkably fast advance of the Sunni militants, who now control strategically important swaths of northern and western Iraq, reflects the spillover of the Sunni insurgency in Syria and the inability of Iraq’s Shiite-led government to pacify the country in the more than two years since American forces departed after eight years of war and occupation. Insurgents also raided the Turkish consulate in Mosul and seized the consul general and 47 other Turkish citizens, including special-forces soldiers and three children of diplomats, the Turkish prime minister’s office said. The development raised the possibility that Turkey, a NATO ally that borders both Syria and Iraq, would become directly entangled in the fast-moving crisis.”
HEADLINES WORTH TRACKING:
- ISIS Seizes More Towns In Northern And Central Iraq (The Long War Journal)
- What the crisis in Mosul and throughout Iraq means for U.S. policy (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- ISIS: The al-Qaeda-linked Islamists powerful enough to capture a key Iraqi city (Washington Post)
- Learn more about the true stories of four remarkable heroes that really did escape the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in the spring of 1994 to tell the world the truth about the genocide of the Jewish people by Adolf Hitler and his Nazi tyranny.
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