ISIS Hostages Freed

Throughout the terror of ISIS, numerous reports of abductions by the terrorist group have been released. However, this past weekend good news was reported by the Assyrian International News Agency that 37 Assyrian Christians have been released.

The Assyrians were kidnapped by ISIS on February 23rd when ISIS attacked 35 Assyrian villages along the Khabur river. 253 were captured in total, most having not returned home. Among those released, all are elderly and 27 are women. The hostages safely arrived at the town of Tel Tamar on November 9th.

ISIS remains holding 353 Assyrians hostage. 168 are from the Khabur region while the remaining 185 were captured in Qaryatain.

Good news also came late in October as another 70 hostages were released by a joint operation by the U.S. and Iraqi forces, 20 of which were members of the Iraqi security forces. Camera footage from a helmet showed the raid on the prison in Hawija. The raid resulted in detaining five ISIS militants as well as recovered intelligence about the terrorist group.

This was the first time American soldiers had directly helped local Iraqi forces on the ground. Until now, U.S. forces had solely been training and advising Iraqi forces. The help, however, came at a cost with one U.S. soldier being killed in the attack.  U.S. Army Master Sgt Joshua Wheeler of Oklahoma is the first American to die in combat against ISIS.

We continue to pray for those still under captivity of ISIS. Join us in also praying that the Christians who are continually facing persecution in the area would be strengthened during this time.

To read more about the release of the hostages, visit:

http://www.aina.org/news/20151107050524.htm

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/23/world/middleeast/us-commandos-iraq-isis.html?_r=0