Iraqi family tells the awful tale.
ISIS “Were Not Strangers; They Were Our Neighbors”
Read more and watch their heart-breaking video here.
And what of the many Christians in Lebanon? Lord have mercy!
“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” (Proverbs 24:10)
It appears that as one part of the Middle East quiets down, another starts up. The radical Islamic terror organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has gained a larger foothold in Lebanon as it faces off against the Lebanese army.
Hezbollah announced on Wednesday that for the moment, it has no plans to confront ISIS. Hezbollah leaders told the Lebanese Daily Star that it has only agreed to provide logistical support to the Lebanese army. However, should ISIS capture significant territory, Hezbollah leadership implied that it would enter the fray.
Since Monday, Lebanese forces and members of ISIS have been squaring off in northern Lebanon. According to reports, ISIS has captured the city of Arsal.
The Telegraph reported that the Syrian terror group set up check-points throughout the city, which has some 40,000 residents and approximately 120,000 Syrian refugees.
The conflict erupted when the Lebanese army arrested Abu Ahmad al-Jumaa, a former commander in the Free Syrian Army who later defected and declared allegiance with ISIS. Army officials said that Jumaa was in the process of planning and carrying out an attack against an army outpost.
ISIS insurgents announced that they would completely withdraw from Arsal if the government releases Jumaa. Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Slama refused their request, saying on Monday, “There is no political solution with extremist groups who are manipulating the Arab communities under religious obscurantism and strange titles, seeking to transfer their sick acts into Lebanon.”
“Today, the only solution is the withdrawal of the gunmen from Arsal and its surroundings,” he added.
After days of fighting, a ceasefire was negotiated between the Lebanese army and ISIS fighters in Arsal by Muslim clerics mediating for both sides. However, ISIS is reported to have kidnapped 30 Lebanese security officers.
For the time being, ISIS militants have withdrawn from the town to a nearby mountainous area between Arsal and the Syrian border.
Infamous for its violent and destructive rampage throughout Iraq and Syria, ISIS has been wreaking havoc in the Middle East and has put many countries, including Israel, the United States and even Iran on high alert.
In Iraq, ISIS has been persecuting the ancient Christian community throughout the country. In Mosul, a 1,800-year-old church was destroyed while hundreds of Christian families have fled the city after being threatened if they did not covert or pay a tax, they would be killed.
Israel has been keeping a close eye on ISIS activities as their jihadist threat looms closer to Israel’s borders. In Gaza, there is growing evidence that ISIS has established a foothold there despite denial by Hamas.
In June, an Israeli official told Channel 2 TV that while Israel is “not too troubled at this stage,” Israeli Military Intelligence has been closely monitoring what it believes to be a more than 10,000 man army over the last two years.
It is one of those beautiful Sunday mornings England seems to do so well: sunlight streams across wet grass and the air is filled with the busy chatter of sparrows and the sweet, milky smell of the calves across the way. In hundreds of churches people will be gathering, as we ourselves will gather, to sing the praises of God, ask his intercession and celebrate his sacraments. It is a world away from the horrors of war and exile; but war and exile is precisely what many people are experiencing. There are over 50 million refugees in the world today, and yesterday their number was increased as Christians fled Mosul, Iraq, and those who could, fled northern Gaza.
I find it heartbreaking that we as a nation are standing by as the ancient heartlands of Christianity are ripped apart and destroyed…
iBenedictines with more.
Before 2003, there were over one million Christians in Iraq. Today, there are as few as 200,000.
A shocking and unacceptable systematic purging of Christians!
There have been Christians in the Middle East since the time of, well, Christ.
Now that two millennium-long history could be in danger…
CNN has the rest here.
For 15 years Canon Andrew White has led Iraq’s only Anglican church, in an increasingly menacing period for Christians across the Middle East.
Read on here.