Jul 25, 2014

Group divorced from reality: top Turkish cleric

The declaration of a so-called caliphate by Islamist militants in Iraq lacks legitimacy and their death threats to Christians are a danger to civilization, Turkey’s top cleric, the successor to the last caliph’s most senior imam, said. The Islamic State last month declared its ...

Jul 25, 2014

'Caliphate' tours big business for jihadists

Known for kidnapping, public stonings, lashings and executions, the Islamic State is now expanding into tourism, taking jihadists on honeymoon and civilians to visit other parts of its so-called caliphate. Running twice-weekly tours from the Syrian city of Raqqa to Iraq’s Anbar, Islamic State ...

Islamic State crushes, coerces opposition

Jul 25, 2014

Islamic State crushes, coerces opposition

Using its own version of soft and hard power, the Islamic State is crushing resistance across northern Iraq so successfully that its promise to march on Baghdad may no longer be unrealistic bravado. While conventional states try to win hearts and minds abroad before ...

15 die as U.N. school in Gaza gets caught in cross-fire

Jul 25, 2014

15 die as U.N. school in Gaza gets caught in cross-fire

A U.N. school in Gaza crowded with hundreds of Palestinians seeking refuge from fierce fighting came under fire Thursday, killing at least 15 civilians and leaving a sad tableau of blood-spattered pillows, blankets and children’s clothing scattered in the courtyard. Palestinian officials blamed Israel ...

Israeli mood turns dark as military casualties mount

Jul 22, 2014

Israeli mood turns dark as military casualties mount

For almost two weeks, Israel practically bristled with confidence and pride: The Iron Dome air defense system was dependably zapping incoming Hamas rockets from the skies, the military was successfully repelling infiltration attempts on the ground and from the sea, and the conflict with ...

Jul 21, 2014

In Damascus, semblance of normal life returns

Each evening, Zakaria Orchi has been meeting up with friends at a favorite cafe to lounge away the hours, just as they used to during Ramadan nights in Syria’s capital before war broke out. “We get together to chat, smoke a hookah (water pipe), ...

| Jul 21, 2014

Israel, Hamas equally vexed by status quo

If Israel and Hamas can agree on one point, it seems, it’s that things have to change. That’s why cease-fire efforts carried out by Egypt and backed by the West have so far failed, and why Israel decided to roll the dice and launch ...

Jul 20, 2014

Islamic State group claims responsibility for Baghdad bombings

The Islamic State extremist group has claimed responsibility for four bombings in Baghdad that were among a string of attacks Saturday that left at least 27 people dead. The group said in a statement posted online late Saturday that two of the attacks were ...

Jul 20, 2014

Iraq's ancient Christian population of Mosul flees ISIL

The ancient Christian community of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul had all but fled by Saturday, ending a presence stretching back nearly two millennia after radical Islamists set them a midday deadline to submit to Islamic rule or leave. The ultimatum by the ...

Jul 20, 2014

Israel to expand Gaza ground offensive: army

Israel’s army said Sunday it was expanding its ground offensive against the Gaza Strip as the bloodiest conflict since 2009 entered its 13th day with a death toll of over 360. “This evening, the ground phase of Operation Protective Edge expands as additional forces ...