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Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi killed in Syria, US says

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Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi set off a blast killing himself and his family as special forces rounded on his hideout after a gunfight.

US President Joe Biden disclosed the overnight raid on Thursday.

Qurayshi’s death “removed a major terrorist threat to the world”, Mr Biden said.

US officials did not name the IS deputy also killed, but provided dramatic details of the operation that had been months in the planning.

IS has so far made no public comments on the issue.

Several US experts told the BBC that Qurayshi’s death would be a blow to IS, but the group would ultimately regroup.

The raid targeted a three-storey residential building on the outskirts of the opposition-held town of Atmeh, which is in northern Idlib province and close to the border with Turkey.

The region is a stronghold of jihadist groups that are fierce rivals of IS, as well as Turkish-backed rebel factions fighting the Syrian government.

Intelligence reports had established that Qurayshi was living with his family on the second floor of the residential building in Atmeh from which he ran IS using couriers to despatch his orders in Syria and elsewhere.

A notorious militant known as “the Destroyer”, Qurayshi – who also went by the noms de guerre Hajji Abdullah, Amir Mohammed Said Abdul Rahman al-Mawla and Abdullah Qardash – became IS leader in 2019, following the death of his predecessor Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Though the terror group announced his rise to the leadership four days after Baghdadi’s death in October, Qurayshi is believed to have long been groomed for the role and kept away from the battlefield in anticipation of assuming the mantle.

US authorities had offered a $10m reward for information about the veteran jihadist, who was born in Mosul, Iraq, in 1976,

How was the raid carried out?
While in Atmeh, he never went outside except to bathe on the rooftop, but an airstrike would have come with high risks of civilian casualties – another family not believed to be connected to IS or aware of Qurayshi’s presence lived on the ground floor.

A possible ground raid was studied in detail, with a dozen scenarios practised and risk assessments taken of the situation on the ground, senior administration officials said. Models were built of the residential compound and engineers studied the likelihood of the building crumbling in a blast.

Mr Biden was briefed on the details of a possible operation in December.

He gave a final go-ahead for the special forces raid on Tuesday, monitoring it in real time from the White House situation room as multiple helicopters arrived in Atmeh around midnight on Thursday.

Local sources said the US special forces faced stiff resistance on the ground, and that they came under fire from anti-aircraft guns mounted on vehicles. Gunfire and shelling were heard for two hours before the helicopters left.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said US forces were able to evacuate 10 people from the house, including eight children.

Those killed in the raid included one of Qurayshi’s deputies and his wife, both of whom had fired on US forces. Additionally, Mr Kirby said that US forces engaged a small group of people who approached the area during the two-hour mission and were “deemed hostile”, resulting in two of them being killed.

“That resulted in the end of hostile activity,” he said, adding that “it appears as if a child was also killed” nearby. Mr Kirby added, however, that the US doesn’t “have perfect knowledge of every single person who was killed”.

As the raid unfolded, Qurayshi detonated an explosive device on the third floor of the house, killing himself, his wife and two children. President Biden described it as “a final act of cowardice”.

Qurashi was later identified “through fingerprints and DNA analysis”, said Mr Kirby.

There were no US casualties. One American helicopter malfunctioned during the raid and had to be destroyed.

Qurashi’s blowing up tactic was also used by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi when he encountered US forces in 2019.

Baghdadi killed himself and three children by detonating an explosive vest during a US special forces raid on a hideout that was only 16km away from Atmeh.

The White Helmets rescue service, also known as the Syria Civil Defence, said it had found the bodies of six children and four women at the house targeted in the raid.

All Americans involved in the operation returned safely, Mr Biden said.

IS no longer controls large swathes of Iraq and Syria as it did at the height of its power. Nor is it the draw for jihadists that it used to be, back when its command of social media drew in recruits and incited others to carry out attacks where they lived. And it has not been able to launch the kind of external operations in Europe like the Paris attacks of 2015.

Last year, its offshoot in Afghanistan, IS-K, drew far more attention, particularly for the deadly attack in Kabul as the US and allies were pulling out.

But there have been concerns in recent months from counter-terrorism officials that the group was trying to reconstitute in Iraq and Syria and build greater capacity. That was seen in ambushes and attacks, particularly in a significant attempt at a massive prison break in north-east Syria last month, as well as renewed propaganda.

Washington will hope the killing of Qurayshi will halt any resurgence in its tracks.

“Hajji Abdullah oversaw the spread of [IS]-affiliated terrorist groups around the world after savaging communities and murdering innocents,” Mr Biden said, calling him “the driving force behind the genocide of the Yazidi people in north-western Iraq in 2014”.

“We all remember the gut-wrenching stories of mass slaughters that wiped out entire villages, thousands of women and young girls sold into slavery, rape used as a weapon of war.

“Thanks to the bravery of our troops this horrible terrorist leader is no more,” he said.

US foreign policy think tank specialists told the BBC that IS would be damaged by the death of Qurayshi.

Jon Alterman, from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said: “Losing a leader makes them even [IS] more paranoid.

“We want them to be paranoid and want them to be searching for traitors in their midst. It’s totally destructive and it’s wonderful.”

Jomana Qaddour, of the Atlantic Council, said: “It’s always a good thing when the head of ISIS is taken out. But this certainly won’t be the last we see of ISIS.”

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American tourist arrested for vandalizing Jesus statue at church in Jerusalem: ‘You can’t have idols’

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An American tourist has been arrested for vandalizing a statue of Jesus Christ at a church in Jerusalem, reportedly due to his belief that the statue constituted idolatry.

A man in his 40s, whose name has not been released to the press, was arrested Thursday after he defaced and broke parts of a statue of Jesus at the Franciscan Church of the Condemnation, a property that includes the Church of the Flagellation.

In a video taken at the church, the man could be heard shouting, “you can’t have idols in Jerusalem, this is a holy city,” Fox News reported.

According to tradition, the church was built on the space believed to be where Jesus was flogged by the Roman soldiers back in the first century and presented with a cross to carry.

“We take very seriously damage to religious institutions and sites,” an Israeli police spokesperson said in a statement. “The police will continue to act against acts of violence and vandalism in the holy places of all religions.”

Custodia Terrae Sanctae, a Franciscan organization that oversees the care and protection of Catholic Church holy sites in the Middle East, released a statement denouncing the vandalism.

The vandalism marked the fifth incident within the last month, according to Custodia Terrae Sanctae, which cited examples of recent vandalism that included attacks on a monastery and a local Christian cemetery.

“We follow with concern and strongly condemn this growing succession of serious acts of hatred and violence against the Christian community in Israel,” added Custodia Terrae Sanctae. “It is no coincidence that the legitimization of discrimination and violence in public opinion and in the current Israeli political environment also translates into acts of hatred and violence against the Christian community.”

The group went on to call upon the Israeli government to “act decisively to guarantee security for all communities, to guarantee the protection of religious minorities and to eradicate religious fanaticism.”

Last month, a group of people believed to be radical Jewish Israelis attacked an Armenian restaurant in the Christian quarter of the city, waving Israeli flags and throwing chairs at patrons.

The Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land denounced the violence leveled against the restaurant, expressing concern over “the escalation of violence in the Holy City.”

“This unprovoked violence instilled fear in the shopkeepers and residents of the Christian quarter as well as visitors,” stated the Assembly.

“It is only the latest in a series of episodes of religious violence that is affecting the symbols of the Christian community and beyond.”
Sources:Christian Post

http://theendtimeradio.com

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ക്രിസ്ത്യൻ അഭയാർത്ഥികൾക്ക് അഭയവിസകൾ നൽകണമെന്ന് യുഎസ് കോൺഗ്രസിനോട് ഫിയകോന

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ന്യൂയോർക് :മതപരമായ അക്രമത്തിന് ഇരയായ ക്രിസ്ത്യൻ അഭയാർത്ഥികൾക്ക് 10,000 അഭയവിസകൾ നീക്കിവെക്കണമെന്നും മതപരമായ അക്രമത്തിന് ഇരയായവർക്കും വ്യാജ പോലീസ് കേസുകൾ ചുമത്തപ്പെട്ടവർക്കും ഇന്റർനാഷണൽ നിയമത്തിനു വിധേയമായി അമേരിക്കൻ കോടതികളിൽ പോലീസിനും സർക്കാർ ഉദ്യോഗസ്ഥർക്കും എതിരെ കേസ് ഫയൽ ചെയ്യാൻ അനുവദിക്കുന്ന ഒരു നിയമം പാസാക്കണമെന്നും ഫെഡറേഷൻ ഓഫ് ഇന്ത്യൻ അമേരിക്കൻ ക്രിസ്ത്യൻ ഓർഗനൈസേഷൻ ജനുവരി 30 നു പുറത്തിറക്കിയ വാർഷീക റിപ്പോർട്ടിൽ യുഎസ് കോൺഗ്രസിനോട് ആവശ്യപ്പെട്ടു.

ഇന്ത്യൻ ക്രിസ്ത്യൻ സമൂഹത്തിനുണ്ടായ നഷ്ടം കണക്കാക്കുകയും അക്രമത്തിന് ഇരയായവർക്ക് ഇന്ത്യൻ സർക്കാർ നഷ്ടപരിഹാരം നൽകണമെന്ന് തുടർന്നു റിപ്പോർട്ടിൽ ആവശ്യപ്പെട്ടു. പൗരന്മാരെ സംരക്ഷിക്കുന്നതിൽ ഭരണകൂടം പരാജയപ്പെട്ടതിന്റെ ഫലമാണ് ഈ നഷ്ടം സംഭവിച്ചതെന്ന് ഫിയകോന വിലയിരുത്തി. ഇന്ത്യയിൽ ഇതുവരെ ആരും ഇത് ഉന്നയിച്ചിട്ടില്ല. USAID അല്ലെങ്കിൽ DoS പോലുള്ള യുഎസ് ഏജൻസികൾ ഈ വിഷയത്തിൽ കൂടുതൽ പര്യവേക്ഷണം ചെയ്യാൻ ആഗ്രഹിക്കുന്നുവെങ്കിൽ വിശദമായ പഠനം നടത്താനും ഫിയകോന തയാറാണെന്നും പ്രസിഡന്റ് കെ ജോർജ് (ന്യൂയോർക് )പറഞ്ഞു
Sources:globalindiannews

http://theendtimeradio.com

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Church mourns pastor, wife who died trying to save son from drowning at the beach

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A Brazilian church is mourning the loss of a pastor and his wife, who died attempting to save their teenage son from drowning at the beach.

Felisberto Sampaio, 43, and his wife, Inalda Sampaio, 42, saw their 13-year-old son, Ian Sampaio, struggling in the water at Camacari Beach in Brazil on Jan. 10. The couple entered the ocean to rescue the boy, but they failed to reach him.

As Brazilian news outlet Universo Online reported, the incident occurred around 10 a.m., citing the Civil Police, who reported that the boy was rescued by a fisherman and another family member while his parents were not pulled from the water in time.

The Fire Department confirmed to UOL that the two victims were removed from the water. The department attempted to revive them, eventually declaring the couple dead at the scene.

The Sampaio family was from the city of Campina Grande in Brazil, and the father had been a pastor for 12 years at the Assembly of God Church in Quixaba, Paraíba, according to The Daily Mail. The family was spending a couple of days in the Paraíba city of Lucena.

Members of the church mourned the couple’s death, as well as Leonardo Meneses, a pastor at a church that the family had frequently attended.

“I know that the circumstances are painful and difficult for us to understand. Only eternity will explain all the mysteries of life,” Meneses said

The couple’s oldest son, Issac Sampaio, told TV Borborema on Jan. 11 that he planned to visit his parents before their tragic deaths. The eldest child said he last saw his parents on Jan. 8.

“The thing that goes through people’s minds is that it’s a lie,” he said.
Sources:Christian Post

http://theendtimeradio.com

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