Over 120 people were reportedly killed during fighting in a Middle Eastern capital on Friday, but it wasn't Baghdad or Damascus. With a Shi'ite rebel movement marching on Sa'ana, Yemen now seems like it's primed to be the next country in the region to stare down the prospect of violent collapse.
Warnings that ISIS may be plotting to attack Pope Francis during his visit to mostly Muslim Albania Sunday have been shrugged off by the Vatican. Despite warnings from Iraq's ambassador to the Holy See that the 77-year-old could be in danger -- and reports in the Italian media of new ISIS recruits returning from the Middle East to Albania -- the Vatican said security measures would remain unchanged.
The Argentine pontiff, who habitually throws caution to the winds to mingle with the crowds, will use the same open-topped vehicle he uses in St. Peter's Square at a mass in Tirana, the capital of one of Europe's poorest countries. [Link]
Four assailants in a vehicle bearing the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) drove past the Maronite Our Lady of Lebanon Church in Sydney, shouting death threats to church-goers, media reports said on Thursday. “Four youth in an unknown car and waving the flag of ISIL drove by the church threatening church-goers with murder and with slaughtering their children,” the parish custodian, Monseigneur Shora Maree, revealed. The assailants caused panic among people as the Australian police is investigating the incident to identify the four youth.
“This is now in the hands of police who are fully investigating. Please do not respond to or circulate any other version of the truth on social media as it creates unnecessary panic,” Maree said in a statement. [Link]
As President Obama works to outline a strategy against the growing ISIS threat in the Middle East, he's come to Tampa to talk with top military leaders from the United States and around the world.
The president spent the morning at MacDill Air Force Base, home to United States Central Command. He received a briefing from top CentCom commanders about ISIS, after which he insisted he was not committing the U.S. to "fighting another ground war in Iraq."
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed regret over the deep political rift in Lebanon as party leaders so far failed to elect a new head of state and overcome their “individual interests.”
He stressed as he spoke to journalists at the world body’s New York Headquarters, days ahead of opening the high-level segment of the 69th General Assembly session, that a new head of state should be elected to surpass the many challenges facing the country.
Dramatic footage obtained by CNN shows Christians in the southeastern Chinese city of Wenzhou barricading themselves into their church to keep hundreds of riot police at bay and save their church cross from confiscation.
Since the beginning of the year, Communist Party officials have been demolishing churches in surrounding Zhejiang province, and removing crosses from tops of church buildings, ostensibly because they are “illegal structures.” However, the move is thought to be part of a crackdown on the growing popularity of Christianity.