During an interview on ABC Sunday, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough apparently dropped the first name of the last American hostage held by ISIS—a woman whose name was kept secret for almost a year-and-a-half.
ISIS is demanding a $6.6 million ransom for an unidentified 26-year-old female hostage in Syria. She was reportedly kidnapped a year ago while doing humanitarian aid work. According to ABC News, ISIS is also requesting that the U.S. release prisoner Aafia Siddiqui, who was convicted in 2010 of trying to kill U.S. officials.
Algerian militants are claiming that as many as 34 hostages, including at least six foreigners, and 15 of their kidnappers were killed on Thursday in a helicopter attack undertaken by the Algerian military as the hostages were being moved to another location. A day earlier, 41 foreigners — including Norwegian, Japanese, British and American citizens — and more than 100 Algerians had been kidnapped at a natural gas complex in the southern part of the country. Sources in the British government describe the 34 figure as "high." According to the Algerian military, the operation is "ongoing."
Two gunmen who took 14 hostages at a Los Angeles mall last night have apparently escaped after an overnight standoff that involved the LAPD SWAT team locking down the mall and holding around 200 moviegoers in theaters until nearly 3 a.m. All 14 employees who were trapped in the Nordstrom Rack where the hostage situation unfolded have been found safe; KTLA reports that the LAPD is saying the suspects are still at large.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, the evil procedural genius who somehow always manages to be the most powerful person in Washington from his lowly perch as Senate minority leader, doesn't take offense when people call him and his party "hostage-takers." He rather fancies the title! But he does want to clear up the details of how and why he loves taking legislative hostages.
During an overnight standoff with police at his hotel, Jason Valdez did what anyone does when they've got time to kill: He updated his Facebook with pictures of his hostage.
Yesterday, for about the hundredth time, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was supposed to sign an agreement to step down after three decades in power. And, unsurprisingly, he backed out for another bullshit, concocted reason. However, instead of just saying "no," he decided to surround the U.A.E. embassy in Sanaa — where the U.S. ambassador and at least four other diplomats were gathered — with hundreds of armed men. From the Times: