The Associated Press is reporting that the leader of ISIS (aka the Islamic State aka ISIL), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was wounded in an airstrike on Saturday. Brief statements from Iraq’s Defense and Interiors Ministries said that al-Baghdadi had been wounded, working off of intel provided by informants within ISIS. They did not elaborate on the extent of said injuries.
Forty-six Turkish hostages, including diplomats, consulate guards and children, who had been captured and held for nearly three months by Islamic State militants in northern Iraq returned to Turkey Saturday morning following a successful Turkish covert operation. Three non-Turkish hostages taken in the same attack were also released.
In a bizarre new video reportedly released by ISIS late Tuesday that resembles a Hollywood movie trailer, the Sunni militant group appears to threaten to kill American troops in Iraq. The short clip, apparently a preview of a longer video called "Flames of War," ends with the message, "fighting has just begun" and that more is "coming soon."
On the heels of a third video released by ISIS depicting the beheading of a prisoner, 26 nations and representatives from the United Nations, European Union, and Arab League have assembled in Paris to formalize a battle strategy against the militants that have seized much of northern and western Iraq. "We must not allow them to have sanctuaries," Iraqi President Fuad Masum told the conference. "We must pursue them wherever they are."
President Obama intends to detail a plan to step up the American offensive against ISIS—including ordering airstrikes in Syria—in a televised address planned for this evening. Administration officials told the New York Times that the plan to be revealed tonight will be a longterm campaign "far more complex than the targeted strikes the United States has used against Al Qaeda in Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere."
New evidence collected by Human Rights Watch shows that the mass executions ISIS committed in June were on a larger scale than anyone imagined. Previously, ISIS bragged that it executed 1,700 soldiers near Tikrit around June 14. Only about 160 of those deaths were confirmed by HRW then, but now the group says 560 to 770 Iraqis were mass killed.
In a move that brings the U.S. closer to military action in Syria, President Obama approved manned and unmanned air surveillance of ISIS in the country. According to AP sources, the flights have already begun. While Obama has avoided military action in Syria for the past three years, ISIS militants' increased threat to Americans in the region is pushing the president towards authorizing airstrikes.
Last week, comedian Adam Hills, who hosts The Last Leg on Britain's Channel 4, took the Westboro Baptist Church to task for threatening to picket Robin Williams' funeral like a bunch of dickheads. He also put his money where his mouth is and offered to fly every WBC member to Iraq to picket "the people threatening to behead Christians if they don't convert."