MIDDLE EAST

Iraq

25 November It was reported that Islamic State militants had kidnapped more than 70 relatives of Khalid al Obeidi, Defence Minister, and are holding them at the terrorist group’s headquarters in Mosul. Obeidi has on]y been in his post for one month and has said he is committed to driving back Islamic State forces.

28 November According to an Indian TV news channel, 39 Indian hostages taken by ISIS militants in June while travelling from Baghdad to Mosul, were killed by their kidnappers. The channel gave as the source for the report two Bangladeshis who had spoken to a reporter in Irbil. The Bangladeshis said they had met the one Indian worker, Harjeet Bassi, who had escaped. He said he saw his colleagues being executed. The Indian External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj, denied the report saying that she knew of six sources who have said the 39 workers are alive.

Lebanon

11 November Masfar al Hajiri, a Kuwaiti national, who was kidnapped on 30 August in Baalbek, was released by his kidnappers after his family paid a ransom of “several hundreds of thousands of dollars” according to a source who had been following the incident closely. The original demand had been USD1 million and it had taken two months to negotiate a lower amount. The kidnappers handed the victim over to Sheikh Bakr al Rifai, the Imam of Baalbek’s Ouzai Mosque.

Syria

16 November A new video released by the Islamic State claimed to show the killing of the American hostage Abdul-Rahman Kassig (aka Peter Kassig). The video showed a man, believed to be the so-called “Jihadi John”, standing with a decapitated bloody head lying at his feet and saying in a British accent: “This is Peter Edward Kassig, a US citizen” and adding: “Here we are burying the first American crusader in Dabeq”. According to Associated Press, the White House has reviewed the footage and found it to be authentic. The victim, an ex-US Ranger, started his own relief organisation, Special Emergency Response and Assistance, a medically oriented emergency relief organisation, and moved to the Syrian border with Turkey to help Syrian refugees. He was kidnapped on 1 October 2013 while on his way to the Syrian city of Deir Ozzour. The 16 minute video also appears to show a mass beheading of men alleged to be Syrian soldiers. The video and killings received wide condemnation.

23 November ISIS posted a nine minute online video, the seventh in a series titled “Lend Me Your Ears”, showing the British journalist, John Cantlie (43), who was kidnapped in 2012, wearing an orange jumpsuit and sitting behind a desk. The victim appears to be reading from a script. He speaks about a failed raid on 4 July to rescue the hostages and that he had accepted “long ago” that his fate is “overwhelmingly likely” to be the same as his “cellmates”. He also refers to the policy of the UK and US of not negotiating the release of hostages through means such as ransoms.

30 November The Jerusalem Post reported that Gill Rosenberg (31), a Canadian-Israeli woman, had been kidnapped by Islamic State militants in Kobani. She had joined Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State earlier in the month. The reports of her capture began surfacing on jihadi and Palestinian social media and forums. According to ynet.com, Rosenberg immigrated to Israel from Canada in 2006 and left behind a promising career as a pilot. A post, apparently from the victim, appeared later on her Facebook page stating: “I’m totally safe and secure” which appeared to refute the kidnapping claims.

Yemen

8 November The children’s charity, UNICEF, announced that one of its employees, James Massaquoi, a water engineer from Sierra Leone, had been released by his kidnappers. The victim was abducted on 6 October 2013 in Sana’a by unknown gunmen. The circumstances surrounding the victim’s release were not revealed.

25 November The country’s Supreme Security Committee reported that security forces had freed eight hostages including six Yemenis, a Saudi Arabian and an Ethiopian during an operation in Hajr as-Sayr district, Hadramout province, against an al Qaeda militant hideout. Seven members of Ansar al Sharia, a terrorist group linked to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), were killed. On 26 November, a statement on the Defence Ministry website quoted a soldier who took part in the operation as saying an American, a Briton and a South African held in the location had been moved two days earlier. The soldier quoted rescued hostages as the source for the information. The names of the three were not given. In Washington, a US official confirmed participation of US Special Forces in the operation. It later transpired that the American is a journalist.

Your Comments (2 so far)

Post a comment

We will never abuse your trust. See our privacy policy for details.

Post comment:

Post with Facebook Post with Twitter Post with LinkedIn