Terror group executed 21 captives?

Updated 23 February 2015
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Terror group executed 21 captives?

BAGHDAD: In a new propaganda video, the Islamic State terror group claims to have beheaded at least 21 captured Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers in Iraq. CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of this video.
The footage, released Saturday, also purports to show the prisoners in cages and interviewed by a man holding a microphone with an IS logo on it.
Following the interview segment, the executions take place.
The video, titled “Healing the Chest of Those who Believe,” is in Kurdish with subtitles in Arabic.
It is consistent with previous executions carried out by IS.
The video shows 21 captives presented as 16 Peshmerga fighters, two Iraqi army officers and three policemen from Kirkuk, a city about 240 km north of Baghdad.
The captives, in orange jumpsuits with their heads lowered, are led to cages in a square surrounded by concrete walls and masked IS fighters carrying pistols.
A bearded man in a white turban warns the Peshmerga against fighting IS.
Then the caged captives are shown being paraded through the streets on the back of pick-up trucks, as dozens of residents and armed men look on.
The date and location is not specified in the video, but Kurdish sources told AFP it was filmed a week earlier in the main market of Hawija, an IS-held town some 50 km from Kirkuk.
The video does not contain any explicit threats to the captives but they are shown at the end kneeling before masked men holding automatic weapons or pistols.
The video also features images from previous IS videos, including of the killing of Jordanian pilot Maaz Al-Kasaasbeh, who was burned alive in a cage, and the beheadings of 21 Coptic Christians, mainly from Egypt, in Libya.
A Peshmerga commander in Kirkuk, Gen. Hiyowa Rash, told AFP that the Peshmerga hostages had been captured on Jan. 31 “when Kurdish fighters repelled a terrorist attack by IS targeting Kirkuk.”


UN envoy: No access for UN peacekeepers to Lebanon tunnels

Updated 23 January 2019
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UN envoy: No access for UN peacekeepers to Lebanon tunnels

  • Cohen accused Hezbollah, an Iranian ally, of threatening international peace and security
  • Danon alleged that Iran funnels $7 billion to militant groups across the region

UNITED NATIONS: The UN's envoy to the Mideast said Tuesday that peacekeepers in Lebanon have not been given access to tunnels stretching into Israel, which UN officials say violate a case-fire resolution that ended a devastating war between Israel and Hezbollah in 2006.
Nikolay Mladenov told the Security Council that the UN peacekeeping mission known as UNIFIL has confirmed that two tunnels crossed the UN-drawn Blue Line between Lebanon and Israel, but “has not been granted access to the confirmed entry points of a tunnel near Kfar Kila on the Lebanese side.”
He did not say whether Lebanon’s government or the Hezbollah militant group was blocking access for UNIFIL, but US deputy ambassador Jonathan Cohen blamed the government.
Cohen accused Hezbollah, an Iranian ally, of threatening international peace and security with the extensive tunneling exposed by Israel, which has reported uncovering six tunnels into its territory.
“We commend UNIFIL’s work to keep the Blue Line under control, but it is unacceptable that the Lebanese government has not yet given UNIFIL access to the tunnel entrance on their side of the Blue Line,” Cohen told the council.
Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon complained to the council that “the Lebanese army has taken no action in response, allowing Hezbollah to continue building these tunnels undisturbed.”
Danon alleged that Iran funnels $7 billion to militant groups across the region, including $1 billion to Hezbollah, which he said has “grand plans to take over the Israeli Galilee” and invests millions in every tunnel. He provided no information on how Israel calculated its estimate of Iranian spending, which also included $4 billion to the Syrian government, “hundreds of millions” to Iran’s proxies in Iraq, tens of millions to Houthi Shiite rebels in Yemen, $70 million to Palestinian Islamic Jihad and $50 million to Hamas, which controls Gaza.
Mladenov noted that Lebanon has been without a government for over eight months and called on all parties to resolve their differences so the country “can address the man pressing challenges it faces, including that of a struggling economy.”
On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Mladenov said that “we should have no illusions about the dangerous dynamics ... which continue to unfold before our eyes” and have eroded “the possibility of establishing a viable, contiguous Palestinian state.”
He pointed to Israel’s latest new settlement plans and approvals, nearly half to be built deep in the West Bank, which the Palestinians say must be part of their state. He also cited “additional attempts to pass legislation that would directly apply Israeli law to the territory of the occupied West Bank, raising fears of future annexation.”
Mladenov said the chance for peace opened more than 25 years ago with the Oslo accords, which were enshrined in UN resolutions and bilateral agreements, but has “eroded as the prospect for credible negotiations has dimmed, only to be replaced by the lack of hope and the growing risk of a one-state reality of perpetual occupation.”
He urged both sides to recommit to the principles in those agreements — that key issues can be resolved only through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador, told the council that last year “Israel’s illegal occupation became more entrenched, more brutal and extreme” with the political process “deadlocked.”
“Day by day, the occupation is destroying the two-state solution and sowing deep despair among our people,” he said.
But despite “the dismal situation,” Mansour said, Palestinians “remain committed to non-violence, dialogue and the objectives of peace” and negotiations on a two-state solution. He urged regional and international efforts “to help overcome the impasse and contribute to the realization of a just solution as a matter of urgency.”