According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 220 people from Assyrian Christian villages have been abducted by ISIS during three days of raids in Syria. (Though, that number could be even higher.) The head of the organization told Reuters, “They have taken the people they kidnapped away from the villages and into their territory.” Yesterday, CNN reported that ISIS was preparing to release a new video, confirming the capture of the Christians, and threatening to kill them if the U.S. did not stop conducting airstrikes. Following the new rounds of raids, ISIS now has taken control of 10 Christian villages ... Discuss

According to a new report, ISIS is preparing to release a video threatening to kill a group of at least 150 Assyrian Christians—including children, women and the elderly—who were abducted in recent village raids. The number of captives is higher than initially thought by activist groups. The reports say that the video will show the large group of kidnapping victims, and will be directed at U.S. officials, demanding that airstrikes cease. If not, ISIS claims it will slaughter the hostages. The radical Islamic militant group has routinely targeted minorities, and recently released another video showing a group of 21 Christian men getting beheaded by armed militants ... Discuss

A man in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to death by a local court for renouncing his Islamic faith in an online video. A government official told the Saudi Gazette, "In the video he cursed God, Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) and his daughter Fatimah and ripped a copy of the Holy Qur'an and hit it with a shoe. The death sentence was issued after his apostasy was proved." According to The Telegraph, his sentence could change if he decides to "repent." The death sentence comes the same week that Prince Mohammed bin Nayef is visiting officials in the U.K. to discuss combating radicalism and ISIS. Amnesty International is urging government leaders in the country to address human rights violations in the country, where public executions happen regularly. They’ve gone as far as saying that U.K. leaders are “wearing a muzzle," with the organization’s head of policy and government affairs adding, in an interview with The Telegraph, “With the deputy crown prince's visit UK officials should try to exert some real pressure on him over Saudi Arabia's disgraceful human rights record" ... Discuss

A U.S. missionary from the Free Methodist Church has been kidnapped in Nigeria. The church posted on their website that Rev. Phyllis Sortor, “our missionary in Nigeria, was abducted from the Hope Academy compound in Emiworo, Kogi State, Nigeria by several persons. The U.S. Embassy has been notified, and the State Department and the FBI are working with local authorities to find and rescue her. We are calling on the U.S. church to join together in prayer for Phyllis’ safety and speedy release.” In addition to her work at the school providing education to local children, Rev. Sortor was also helping to build clean water wells in the community. As Reuters notes, kidnapping is a significant criminal problem in the country. However, the region where the abduction occurred has historically not seen much activity from the Islamic radical group Boko Haram, militants who have terrorized other areas in the northern part of the country ...

UPDATE: The gunmen are now demanding $300,000 for Rev. Sortor's return. Discuss

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is reporting that ISIS militants have abducted at least 90 people after raiding an Assyrian Christian village. (Different reports vary on how many dozens were abducted in the raids, but Reuters says it was “at least 90.”) Children are said to be among the group kidnapped. Reports indicate that the raid specifically targeted areas where Christian minorities lived. The region of northeastern Syria is also an important strategic location, and has seen fighting between ISIS militants and the Kurdish military, as well as airstrikes from the U.S. led coalition ... Discuss

A young girl—who witnesses described as about 8-years-old—detonated a suicide bomb at a market in Nigeria this weekend, killing herself and at least five others. More than 40 were also injured in the bombing. Though no terrorist organization has formally claimed responsibility for the attack, it has the hallmarks of the work of Boko Haram, a radical Islamic militant group that is suspected of using abducted children in attacks of terrorism. The tragedy follows two other recent incidents of suicide bombings in Nigeria, including an attack that killed seven people at a bus station last week. In April of last year, the group became the center of the #BringBackOurGirls social media campaign after kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls in a brazen attack on a local village ... Discuss