Update on ISIS

By LINDSEY FEINGOLD

Everyone has heard of ISIS- an Islamic terror organization that has amplified in size in recent years. This group has kidnapped hundreds of people, executed many more, and has taken over towns and cities across Iraq.

Yet, how can one to keep up with every little activity that occurs pertaining to this group? Recently, there have been multiple accounts of terror related to ISIS, and they will be thoroughly explained.

On January 31, ISIS released a video of Japan hostage Kenji Goto being executed by “Jihadi John”, according to the Huffington Post. The video showing the execution was titled, “A Message to the Government of Japan.” This led Japan to start taking ISIS seriously as the country now realizes that they too are being targeted.

Just a few days later, on February 6, ISIS sent an email to Kayla Mueller’s family stating that she was dead. She was a hostage since August 2013, and was a humanitarian aid worker in Syria when she was kidnapped. They gave the reason that she was killed “when a Jordanian airstrike damaged a building in the extremist’s stronghold of Rappa, Syria,” according to CBS. The email also consisted of three pictures of Mueller’s body. She is the fourth American hostage to have been killed.

Courtesy of BBC
Courtesy of BBC

On February 14, the town of Albaghdadi was taken over by ISIS. The clash between ISIS fighters and Iraqi soldiers started on February 12 and by the next day ISIS had taken over several government buildings, according to securitydata.newamerica.net. The same day, Iraqi soldiers retreated and ISIS completely took over the town.

Over a dozen members of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority in Libya were killed, as seen in a video released by ISIS on February 15, according to CNN.

On February 17, three schoolgirls from London disappeared. They are believed to have traveled to Syria in hopes of joining ISIS, according to The New York Times. At the moment, their families are urging them to return home.

On February 21, the militant group Al-Shabaab, similar to ISIS, threatened lone wolf attacks at malls in Canada, the UK, and in America. Specifically, the Mall of America, located in Minnesota, was threatened with attacks.

ISIS stormed central library of Mosul, destroying 100,000 books, manuscripts, and newspapers just two days after the mall threat, according to The Guardian.

On February 25, three men from Brooklyn, a burrow of New York City, were arrested. Two of them were part of a plot to travel to Syria to join ISIS, while the third was supposedly going to finance their travels.

February 26 was a busy day for ISIS, as many events occurred at once. The main event was ISIS releasing a video of them destroying ancient artifacts at the Mosul Museum in Iraq. The men in the video used sledgehammers and power tools to destroy the treasured statues, dating back to 700 B.C., according to The New York Times.

Courtesy of The Observer
Courtesy of The Observer

300 Assyrian Christians in Syria were also captured on this date. The number was first believed to be around 150, but experts believe that the number has now increased to over 300, also according to The New York Times.

Lastly, on this date, Jihadi John, the executioner of many of the hostages that ISIS has accumulated over the past few years, was identified. He is now known to be Mohammed Emwazi of the UK, a recent graduate of the University of Westminister who is a computer programmer. Emwazi has killed several people, including journalist James Foley.

On March 1, Iraq decided to take back the town of Tikrit from ISIS. Forces entered the city on the third, according to securitydata.newamerica.net.

Relating to Iraq’s presence of social media, their main way of recruiting teens to join their cause, Twitter suspended over 2,000 accounts relating to ISIS over the past few days, according to ABC. ISIS retaliated by calling out death threats to Jack Dorsey, founder of Twitter.

Lastly, yesterday it was discovered that a 17-year-old in Virginia “helped a man not much older than himself travel to Syria to join ISIS, by helping to arrange travel plans using online contacts that led to the Islamic State Overseas,” according to the Washington Post. Details on the investigation are still unclear.

Overall, February was a busy month for ISIS, and the next few months to come are crucial in defeating this terrorist group.