ISIS Use US Journalist Hostage As Focus Of Latest Terror Campaign On Social Media By Hijacking Discussions Using #StevensHeadInObamasHands Hashtag

From the Daily Mail:
Islamic State supporters are using U.S. hostage Steven Sotloff as brutal fodder in a Twitter campaign which hijacks trending topics with the message #StevensHeadinObamasHands.

The TIME reporter was paraded in an orange jumpsuit in the same video which featured the murder of James Foley, the U.S. journalist who was abducted in Syria in 2012 and beheaded.

Now Arabic-speaking extremists are attaching Mr Sotloff's face to a string of barbaric English-language 'memes' in what appears to be a direct appeal to Western citizens...

ISIS Gives Iraq Christians 'One Week' To Convert Or Die

From Christian Today:
Islamic militant terrorists ISIS is giving non-muslims in Iraq three options: leave, convert or die.

A WorldWatch Monitor report tells the personal account of Iraqi Christian Mikha Qasha.

In August, WWM reported that Qasha, an elderly paralytic, was moved from his home in Qaraqosh after ISIS members threatened him with weapons giving him one week to leave, convert to Islam or "face the sword."

Qasha eventually found his grandson and was taken to Ankawa, Iraq,  the predominantly Christian suburb in the province of Erbil.

ISIS has reportedly been giving the ultimatum since the group took over Mosul, the capital of the Nineveh providence in northern Iraq, in June.

The group also threatened to impose a "special tax" on Iraqi Christians. Thousands of Christians left Mosul in July after the group gave the ultimatum saying that if they did comply there would be 'nothing for them but the sword."

Of the 3,500 Christians living in Mosul, WWM reports that about 25 of them decided to remain in Mosul. Since then, nine have converted to Islam and the others are paying an Islamic tax for non-muslims called jizya.

Later on, ISIS demanded an immediate decision by the small group of Iraqi Christians, and they are now giving all non-muslims one week to decide.

The United Nations launched a major aid operation Aug. 20 providing tents and other goods to Erbil via land, air and sea.

Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, told WWM that Christian persecution in Iraq is "off the scale."

Welby said that the members of the terrorist group are "particularly savage" and "the international community must document the human rights abuses in northern Iraq so that the perpetrators can later be prosecuted."

Some non-muslim refugees have found refuge in an Ankawa refugee camp.

WWM reports that a group of church workers are currently helping more than 360 families staying in Erbil. Of the families, 216 live in the church's courtyard. The group serves breakfast, lunch and dinner to more than a thousand people every day.

Iran Tests New, Advanced Machine To Refine Uranium

From Jihad Watch:
What could possibly go wrong? The world is more peaceful than it ever has been, says Barack Obama. And the Iranians say that their nuclear program is peaceful. They wouldn’t lie to us, now, would they? And anyway, to strike against them would be to enable the Islamic State. To aid them, on the other hand, would be aiding those who chant “Death to America.” Quite a world Barack Obama has brought into being.

“Iran says tested new nuclear enrichment machine, may irk West,” by Michelle Moghtader and Fredrik Dahl, Reuters, August 27, 2014:
(Reuters) – Iran has conducted “mechanical” tests on a new, advanced machine to refine uranium, a senior official was quoted as saying on Wednesday, a disclosure that may annoy Western states pushing Tehran to scale back its nuclear programme.

Iran’s development of new centrifuges to replace its current breakdown-prone model is watched closely by Western officials. It could allow the Islamic Republic to amass potential atomic bomb material much faster.

Tehran says its nuclear programme is peaceful and that it produces low-enriched uranium only to make fuel for a planned network of atomic energy plants. If processed to a high fissile concentration, uranium can be used for nuclear weapons.

“Manufacturing and production of new centrifuges is our right,” Iranian atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi said.

Iran’s Fars news agency also quoted him as saying that Iran had tested its latest generation of centrifuge, the IR-8, but had not yet fed it with uranium gas.

U.N. nuclear agency reports this year showed Iran testing four other models under development at an above-ground Natanz nuclear site – IR-2m, IR-4, IR-6 and IR-6s – with such gas.

Iran had informed the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency in December that it planned to install a single IR-8. The IAEA said in May that it had observed a new “casing” at the site, but that it was not yet connected.

An interim accord struck late last year in Geneva between Iran and six world powers – designed to buy time for talks on a final nuclear deal – stipulated that Iran could not go beyond the centrifuge research and development it has been conducting at the Natanz site, including testing of new models.

It was one of the thorniest issues to settle in technical talks on how to implement the preliminary deal.

In a comment that Western officials may dispute, Salehi said that “based on the Geneva agreement, research and development have no limit”, Fars reported.

“VERY TOUGH TOPIC”

Salehi said Iran had “introduced” the IR-8 centrifuge to the IAEA. “Mechanical tests have been done but gas has yet to be injected,” Salehi said. That would require President Hassan Rouhani’s permission.

The comments reported by Fars did not make clear when the tests were carried out. The IAEA, which regularly inspects Iran’s nuclear facilities, is expected to issue a quarterly report on the country’s nuclear programme around Sept. 3.

In a separate monthly update on Aug. 20 about the implementation of the Geneva accord, it did not suggest any new centrifuge development activities, only saying that Iran had “continued its safeguarded enrichment R&D practices”.

The negotiations between Iran and the United States, France, Germany, China, Britain and Russia – aimed at ending a decade-old dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme – were extended in July until Nov. 24 in view of persistent wide differences….

PA Official Justifies Shooting Civilians: "There are no innocent Israelis"

Executions ‘Spectacle' In ISIS-Controlled Syria

From the Daily Star (Lebanon):
Public executions, amputations, lashings and mock crucifixion have become a regular fixture in jihadist-controlled areas of Syria, a U.N.-mandated probe charged Wednesday, also accusing Damascus of repeatedly using chemical weapons against civilians.

"In areas of Syria under ISIS control, particularly in the north and northeast of the country, Fridays are regularly marked by executions, amputations and lashings in public squares," the independent Commission of Inquiry on the human rights situation in Syria said.

Jihadists from the group now calling itself the Islamic State are also pushing residents, including children, to attend public executions by beheading or a shot to the head, it said.

"Executions in public spaces have become a common spectacle on Fridays in ISIS power-base Raqqa and in ISIS-controlled areas of Aleppo governorate," said the commission, which includes legendary former war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte.

"Bodies of those killed are placed on display for several days, terrorizing the local population."

In a 45-page report on the situation in the war-ravaged country, the panel described beheadings of boys as young as 15, men flogged for things like smoking or accompanying an "improperly dressed" female relative, and women publicly lashed for not following the group's strict dress code.

ISIS, which declared a "caliphate" in an area stretching across northern Iraq and eastern Syria, is also recruiting and training children as young as 10, with teens being used in active combat and suicide-bombing missions, the report said.

The jihadists, who sparked worldwide outrage last week when they released a video showing its beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, are guilty of widespread war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria, the commission said.

The group was also contributing "to a spillover of violence affecting international peace and stability," it warned, stressing that "risks of the conflict spreading further are palpable."

American Convert To Islam Killed Waging Jihad For Islamic State In Syria

From NBC:
The battle in itself seemed tragically normal. Two Syrian opposition groups fought and there were heavy casualties on both sides. Then victorious rebels rifled through the pockets of the dead. One contained about $800 in cash -- and an American passport.

Douglas McAuthur McCain, of San Diego, California, was killed over the weekend fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), according to the Free Syrian Army. Photos of McCain's passport and of his body -- which feature a distinctive neck tattoo -- have been seen by NBC News. According to an activist linked to the Free Syrian Army who also saw the body and travel document, McCain was among three foreign jihadis fighting with ISIS who died during the battle.

Senior administration officials told NBC News they were aware that McCain was killed in Syria and that his family was informed on Monday. The officials added that they believe dozens of Americans have gone to Syria to fight with extremist groups - including, but not limited to, ISIS.

"The threat we are most concerned about to the homeland is that of fighters like this returning to the U.S. and committing acts of terrorism," a senior administration official told NBC News.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden later confirmed the death, adding, "We continue to use every tool we possess to disrupt and dissuade individuals from traveling abroad for violent jihad and to track and engage those who return."

NBC News has contacted several members of McCain’s family and dozens of friends – including his mother, sister, aunts and cousins. A woman who said she was McCain's aunt confirmed that he had "passed" and referred calls to McCain’s mother.

McCain, 33, called himself "Duale ThaslaveofAllah" on Facebook and his Twitter bio reads: "It's Islam over everything." But how did this would-be rapper go from shooting hoops in a blue-collar area of Minnesota to dying in the civil war thousands of miles from home? This is his story -- one shared in part by only a "small handful" of Americans believed to be fighting in Syria with ISIS...

Overwhelming Number Of Palestinians Support Jihad Against Israelis

From the Washington Free Beacon:
Nearly 89 percent of Palestinians support Hamas and other terrorists firing rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israeli civilians, according to a new poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion (PCPO).

As Israelis wait to see if yet another ceasefire agreement with Hamas will hold, the poll shows broad support among Palestinians for Hamas’ most recent rocket assault on the Jewish state, which has been hit by more than 4,000 missiles in the past month.

The poll of 1,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip found that 88.9 percent of those surveyed supported “the firing of rockets from Gaza at Israel,” according to the findings.

This is a significant increase since January, when the PCPO found that just 49.1 percent supported such actions.

“The deterrence of the Palestinian Resistance has increased in the wake up of the Israeli military operation ‘Protective Edge,’” the PCPO concluded in a statement.

When asked by a pollster, “Would you please tell us your opinion about the issue of firing rockets at Israel,” just over 60 percent of Palestinians polled responded that they “strongly support that.” Another 28.6 percent stated, “I support that,” while just 1 percent said, “I oppose that,” according to the poll.

While a majority of Palestinians surveyed supported rocket attacks on Israel, just 15.9 percent said that it was “the most successful act of the Palestinian Resistance in retaliation for the recent Israeli aggression,” the poll found.

Another 23.3 percent said that “infiltrating through the enemy lines” was most effective, while 19.8 responded that “the underground border-crossing tunnels” dug by Hamas are the best way to attack Israelis, according to the poll

A large majority of Palestinians—75.4 percent—said that the “deterrence of the Palestinian resistance” has increased during the latest conflict, according to the poll.

A majority of Palestinians also oppose the deployment of an international peacekeeping team to the Gaza Strip, a plan that has been proposed by Israel and others in recent peace talks.

More than 61 percent of those Palestinians polled said that would not support the deployment of a multi-national United Nations team in Gaza. Nearly 64 percent also rated as “negative” the policy positions of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip additionally expressed broad support for the Red Cross on the U.N. Relief Works Agency (UNRWA), two humanitarian agencies that have allowed their facilities to be used by Hamas terrorists to wage attacks on Israel.

Just over 58 percent of those surveyed said they “are content” with the Red Cross’ performance, while 71.2 percent expressed a similar sentiment toward UNRWA, which, on several occasions, returned to Hamas rockets that had been stored in its facilities.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was found to still have the support of 54 percent of the Palestinians surveyed in Gaza.

More than 93 percent of those polled opposed the disarmament of Palestinian militant groups, but 88 percent supported a long-term truce, according to additional statistics not included in the English version of the poll but reported by the Palestinian media.

The poll was conducted from Aug. 14 to 19 while a temporary ceasefire was in effect by PCPO President Nabil Kukali.

Respondents were selected from 90 different locations across the Gaza Strip. The poll has a 3.1 percent margin of error.

Hamas Victory Celebrations Should Not Be Easily Dismissed

By David Horovitz for the Times of Israel:
The ostensible end of Israel-Hamas hostilities took effect at 7 p.m. Israel time Tuesday, on the 50th day of Operation Protective Edge, amid a major barrage of rocket fire. An Israeli was killed and two others were badly injured (one of whom later died) shortly before the truce began, and the alarms continued to sound down south for a good few minutes after 7 p.m., even as Hamas supporters were celebrating “victory” on the streets of Gaza. Not an auspicious start.

Hamas has breached truce agreement after truce agreement in the past 50 days, and there is no compelling reason to assume that this case will be any different. Unnamed sources in the Palestinian negotiating delegation — a curious forum comprising rival factions including Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad — claimed Tuesday night that Hamas’s leadership in Gaza insisted on accepting the same unconditional Egyptian terms that it rejected more than a month ago, and sidelined the Qatar-based Khaled Mashaal, who had previously rejected such terms. Some say that the sight of the Israeli Air Force moving to smash the apartment buildings in which Israel claims it had some of its command centers finally prompted Hamas in Gaza to call a halt. Time will tell if a terror government’s solemn assurance that it has silenced its guns has any credibility.

Entirely predictably, Hamas immediately busied itself extricating what it called success from amid the devastation it has brought down upon Gaza these past seven weeks. It fired over 4,500 rockets at Israel. It killed 64 soldiers and five civilians. It prompted several dozen airlines to shun Israel for two days last month. It terrorized southern Israel, especially in more recent weeks, when it stepped up its mortar fire and rocket barrages on the south. It killed four-year-old Daniel Tragerman inside his own home on Kibbutz Nahal Oz. For an organization committed to the destruction of Israel, these are achievements to celebrate.

By emplacing its war machine in the very heart of Gaza, it also condemned hundreds of thousands of people — the Gazans in whose interests it falsely claims to have fought — to homelessness, dire poverty, and the bleakest of futures. But for Hamas, these too are achievements. Extremism flourishes amid bitterness. Islamic radicals find willing recruits where hope of a better future is in short supply. Thus Hamas expects to profit, too, from the destruction wrought as Israel targeted all those rocket launchers and terror tunnel entrances sited in the homes, mosques and schools of the Gaza Strip. And it can also celebrate the staining of Israel’s reputation in those wide international circles where the evil, cynical nature of Hamas’s war strategy is misunderstood or ignored.

The final word on this conflict, however, is still far from being written. If this round is over, then the focus now shifts to the specifics of the long-term ceasefire arrangements, as military action gives way to diplomacy.

And if, under a long-term deal, Hamas is able to replicate Hezbollah’s strategy in Lebanon — to retain full or significant control of Gaza, to re-arm, to build a still more potent killing mechanism — then its claims of victory, appallingly, will be justified.

Only if a long-term mechanism can be fashioned that denies Hamas the capacity to fight and kill another day will the Israeli leadership be justified in asserting that its goal — ensuring sustained calm and security for the people of Israel — has been met.

The early word is that Israel has made no commitment to meeting any of the central, long-standing Hamas demands — for a lifting of the security blockade, and for the opening of a seaport and an airport. These are concessions that, if agreed in the absence of an effective supervisory mechanism, would give Hamas the ready means to strengthen itself militarily. But it is extremely hard to imagine how such an effective supervisory mechanism could be constructed. And one can only wonder whether Hamas, if it is denied concessions on those issues in the coming weeks of negotiations, will refrain from renewing the conflict.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s popularity has nosedived in recent weeks as the war has continued, as the rockets have pounded on, and as residents of the south have learned to their bloody cost that the political and military leadership were wrong in assuring them three weeks ago that it was safe for them to return to their homes. Support for Netanyahu’s handling of the conflict will rise again if time, and the long-term ceasefire terms, prove that Hamas has been marginalized and de-fanged. Many Israelis, indeed, will come to hail him for not having ordered a far more extensive ground offensive into the treacherous heart of Gaza, where Hamas lay in wait, with the consequent likely loss of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of soldiers’ lives.

But if Hamas is not marginalized, if it proves capable of rebuilding its tunnels, restocking its rocket arsenals, and plotting new strategies toward its goal of Israel’s annihilation, the Israeli strategy for handling this conflict will have been a failure, and the popularity of the prime minister will be far from the most central of Israel’s concerns.

Ohio: School On Lockdown After Muslim Threatens To Murder Children Over Israel-Hamas Conflict

From Jihad Watch:
Hamas savagery comes to the U.S.: “He identified himself as ‘Mohammed Shehad’…My sense is that due to the way he identified himself it sounds like he was upset at Israel.” Or this could simply an attempt to “strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah” (Qur’an 8:60), or even a jihad-chic hoax.

“Man Threatens to Murder Children Due to Israel-Hamas Conflict,” by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, August 27, 2014:
An Ohio school was placed on lockdown Wednesday after a man with a “heavy accent” phoned the school and threatened to murder children with an AK-47 due to the current conflict between Israel and Hamas, according to local police.

All schools in Pickerington, Ohio, were placed on lockdown after an unknown man made a threatening call to the Pickerington North High School, Fairfield County Sheriff Dave Phalen confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon.

The man, who claimed to have an AK-47, said he planned to launch an attack on the school and kill students over his apparent anger at the Middle East conflict, Phalen said.

“The school received a call [at around 11:15 a.m.] from a male with a heavy accent and he indicated that he was going to attack Pickerington North due to attacks on Israel and was going to kill the kids and that he had an AK-47 gun,” Phalen recounted.

“He identified himself as ‘Mohammed Shehad,’” or something similar to that, and claimed to live in the area, Phalen said, explaining that those who fielded the call were unsure precisely what last name the man provided.

“My sense is that due to the way he identified himself it sounds like he was upset at Israel,” though the individual’s exact motivations remain unclear, Phalen said. At this point, authorities “really don’t know what his frame of mind was or what he was thinking.”

All area schools were placed on “exterior lockdown” as a precautionary measure, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

School will resume on Thursday and an officer will be assigned to Pickerington North. Additional deputies will also be in the area, Phalen said.

Fairfield County detectives also are beginning to investigate the matter to determine the individual’s identity.

“We have detectives assigned to that; they’re working on trying to trace the phone number and identify the suspect,” Phalen said….

Hamas ‘Death Squads’ Execute 18 ‘Zionist Collaborators’

From the National Post:
Hamas shot dead 18 suspected collaborators Friday in a public killing spree provoked by the Israeli assassination of its most senior military commanders.

Seven people were killed outside the Omari mosque in Gaza City’s Palestine Square in a display apparently designed as a deterrent for other would-be informants. Masked militants clad in black shot the victims, whose faces were covered and hands tied behind their backs, as worshippers emerged from Friday prayers, witnesses said.

“This is the final moment of the Zionist enemy collaborators,” one of the gunmen announced, before firing.

The crimes of the condemned were set out on a “conviction notice” pasted on to a nearby wall.

“They provided the enemy with information about the whereabouts of fighters, tunnels of resistance, bombs, houses of fighters and places of rockets, and the occupation bombarded these areas killing a number of fighters,” it said.

The gruesome episode – the first public execution-style murders in the coastal territory since the 1990s – came after Hamas confirmed the killing of another 11 people in the grounds of Gaza’s bombed-out police headquarters. Two of those put to death were said to be women.

It was also reported that a further three alleged informants were killed on Thursday.

A pro-Hamas website said the killings were part of an operation called “strangling the necks” with the goal of “targeting collaborators who aid the [Israeli] occupation, kill our people and destroy houses.”

Human rights campaigners denounced the shootings as “extrajudicial killings” carried out by “death squads” without due process ...