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Persecuted

'There's no way back now': For female ISIL members, Syria is one-way journey

When three British schoolgirls trundled across the Syrian border; when a pregnant 14-year-old ran away from her Alpine home for the second time; when a sheltered girl from the south of France booked her first trip abroad - they were going to a place of no return.

Only two of the approximately 600 Western girls and young women who have joined extremists in Syria are known to have made it out of the war zone. By comparison, as many as 30 per cent of the male foreign fighters have left or are on their way out, according to figures from European governments that monitor the returns.

In interviews, court documents and public records, the Associated Press has compiled a detailed picture of European girls and young women who join extremists such as ISIL - a decision that is far more final than most may realize.

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Islamic State killed 400 people in Syria's Palmyra: State TV

Islamic State fighters have killed at least 400 people, including women and children, in Palmyra since capturing the ancient Syrian city four days ago, Syrian state media said on Sunday.

It was not immediately possible to verify the account, but it was consistent with reports by activists that the Islamist fighters had carried out extra-judicial executions since capturing the city from government troops.

The Sunni Muslim militants seized the city of 50,000 people, site of some of the world's most extensive and best preserved ancient Roman ruins, on Wednesday, days after also capturing the city of Ramadi in neighbouring Iraq.

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Islamic State's Black Flag Flies Over Vatican On Cover Of Propaganda Magazine

Islamic State militants have called for war against the Catholic Church in the latest issue of the group's English-language propaganda magazine Dabiq.

The extremists photoshopped their signature black flag over an image of the Vatican's iconic Egyptian obelisk, ANSA reports, with a cover headline that read, "The Failed Crusade."

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Spotlight on Montreal college after students accused of trying to join foreign jihadists

An east-end Montreal college is gaining a reputation as a breeding ground for jihadis after four of its students were arrested at the airport Friday, allegedly on the verge of taking off to join an overseas terror group.

The latest arrests bring to 11 the number of College Maisonneuve students who since January have either left to join jihadi groups overseas or have been arrested on suspicion of planning to leave.

The four were among 10 students from various CEGEPS - post-secondary institutions unique to Quebec - and high schools arrested at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport Friday, the college confirmed. They are "suspected of wanting to leave the country to join jihadist groups," the RCMP said in a statement.

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US military: ISIS on defensive, more than 6,000 targets hit by coalition

The US-led coalition has damaged or destroyed more than 6,000 Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) targets in air strikes in Iraq and Syria, the US Central Command (Centcom) said.

It said in a statement Sunday that 6,097 targets have been hit since the start of air raids last summer. They include 77 tanks, 287 Humvee vehicles, 416 staging posts, 1,757 buildings, 1,330 fighting positions, 152 oil installations and 2,078 other various targets.

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RCMP arrest 10 Montrealers suspected of trying to join jihadist groups

RCMP said they have arrested 10 Montreal youth suspected of trying to join jihadist groups overseas.

The young people were arrested at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport in Montreal over the weekend, the RCMP said in a news release late Tuesday.

No charges have been laid, but police confiscated the passports of all 10 people, Mounties said.

Police said the investigation is ongoing and are not releasing the youths' identities or any information that led to their arrests.

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Thousands Rally In Ethiopia Against ISIS Killing Of Ethiopian Christians In Libya

Thousands of Ethiopians gathered in the capital of Addis Ababa on Wednesday for a rally to protest the killing of Ethiopian Christians in Libya. There were reports of violence at the government-sponsored gathering at Meskel square, where protesters hurled rocks and scuffled with police, leading to the detention of some people, Reuters reported.

Citizens of the majority-Christian country gathered in the square holding placards, which read: "We want revenge for our sons' blood," referring to the mass execution of Ethiopian Christians shown in a recent video released by the Islamic State group, the Associated Press reported.

The ISIS video, released on Sunday, showed fighters holding two groups of people they described as "followers of the cross from the enemy Ethiopian Church," before beheading and shooting them. The video purportedly showed the killing of some 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya.

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ISIS takes control of Ramadi, Iraqi troops flee

ISIS seized control of the city of Ramadi on Sunday, sending Iraqi forces racing out of the city in a major loss despite the support of U.S.-led airstrikes targeting the extremists.

Online video showed Humvees, trucks and other equipment purportedly speeding out of Ramadi, with some soldiers gripping onto their sides. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered security forces not to abandon their posts across Anbar province, apparently fearing the extremists could capture the entirety of the vast Sunni province that saw intense fighting after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of the country to topple dictator Saddam Hussein.

The retreat recalled the collapse of Iraqi police and military forces last summer, when the initial blitz by ISIS into Iraq saw it capture about a third of the country. It also calls into questions American officials hopes of relying solely on airstrikes to support the Iraqi forces in expelling the extremists.

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After second incident of ISIS murdering Christians in Libya, foreign minister 'appalled'

Libya's Foreign Minister Muhammad Dayri told reporters on Monday that he is "appalled" by the barbaric beheading of at least 28 Christians in Libya, after a video purportedly made by Islamic State was posted on social media sites.

"We are appalled at this barbaric killing of 28 Ethiopian nationals yesterday in Libya. This is not the first time that these hordes of ISIS do operate with this tragic and horrible actions in Libya," Dayri told reporters on the sidelines of the Asian-African Conference in Indonesia's capital Jakarta.

The video, in which militants call Christians "crusaders" who are out to kill Muslims, showed about 15 men being beheaded on a beach, and another group of the same size, in an area of shrubland, being shot in the head.

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Toronto terror suspect ordered detained again

A Pakistani man accused of planning to blow up the U.S. Consulate in Toronto will remain in custody for a third month.

Jahanzeb Malik, 33, bowed his head Monday morning when the Immigration and Refugee Board's Harry Adamidis ruled yet again that Malik is to remain in custody because he is a flight risk and a threat to the public.

Monday marked Malik's fourth detention review since his arrest on March 9. His next detentio hearing is slotted for early June.

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ISIL video purports to show killing of Ethiopian Christians

A video purporting to show the killing of Ethiopian Christians by Islamic State-affiliated militants in Libya has been released online.

The 29-minute video appears to show militants holding two groups of captives, one by an affiliate in eastern Libya known as Barka Province and the other by the Fazzan Province, an affiliate in the south.

A masked fighter wielding a pistol says Christians must convert to Islam or pay a special tax prescribed by the Quran, before the captives in the south are shown being shot dead and the captives in the east are beheaded on a beach.

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ISIS Crucifies Three Brothers in Libya

Islamic State militants in Libya crucified three brothers of a local family after suspicions arose that they were supporting the local Libyan government, which under ISIS law is equivalent to apostasy.

The militants hung the three brothers on crosses and were left out for public viewing for about five hours. A photo circulated last week showing the brothers being crucified in the coastal town of Derna, Libya, after they refused to turn over their brother who was accused of supporting the Libyan Army.

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Australia: Churches Burned to the Ground Easter Holiday

In the days before Easter, Christianity's holiest time, no fewer than four Melbourne churches were torched.

Haven't heard about this? Of course not. The left applauds such destruction and desecration, as long as it's a church or even a synagogue. If it's a Hindu or Sikh temple, the media will only report on it if they can spin as an act of "islamophobia," alleging that the vandals actually meant to attack Muslims.

But if someone leaves bacon on the door handle of a mosque, they serve prison time. If someone vandalizes a mosque, non-Muslims are excoriated - even when the perp is Muslim (which it is the majority of the time).

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Purported ISIS warning claims terror cells in place in 15 states

A grim online warning from a self-described American jihadist said Sunday's terror attack in Texas was the work of ISIS and that the terrorist group has scores of "trained soldiers" positioned in 15 states, awaiting orders to carry out more operations.

The warning, which was posted on a file-sharing site, could not be verified, but was signed by Abu Ibrahim Al Ameriki. That name matches the moniker of a shadowy American known to have joined a terrorist group in Pakistan several years ago and who has appeared in propaganda videos before. The chilling threat named five of the states where it is claimed that ISIS has terror cells in place.

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Twitter suspends 10,000 pro-ISIL accounts in just one day in mass crackdown on 'violent threats'

Activists and experts who monitor the Twitter traffic of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and its supporters noticed something odd last week when many accounts suddenly disappeared.

The activists exchanged messages about the missing accounts, suspecting they had been suspended.

On Thursday, a Twitter representative confirmed what some were saying and put a number on it. The social media network's violations department suspended approximately 10,000 accounts April 2 "for tweeting violent threats," the representative said.

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ISIS claim responsibility for shooting at Texas Muhammad cartoon contest

The Islamic State terror group (ISIS) Tuesday issued a claim of responsibility for Sunday's attack on a Texas cartoon contest featuring images of the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

The claim was made in an audio message on the group's Al Bayan radio station, based in the Syria city of Raqqa, which ISIS has proclaimed to be the capital of its self-proclaimed caliphate. It is the first time ISIS has taken credit for an attack on U.S. soil, though it was not immediately clear whether the group's claim was an opportunistic co-opting of a so-called "lone wolf" attack as its own.

The message described the shooting suspects as "two soldiers of the caliphate" and added "We tell America that what is coming is more bitter and harder and you will see from the soldiers of the Caliphate what harms you."

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Canada carries out first airstrike in Syria

Canada's air force hit its first target in Syria on Wednesday, the federal government said.

Two Canadian CF-18 Hornets, along with six aircraft from the U.S. and two other coalition aircraft, used "precision-guided munitions" to hit an ISIS garrison near Ar-Raqqah in Syria, a news release from the Department of National Defence said.

The Canadian crew and the aircraft safely returned to base after the mission, the release said.

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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi seriously injured in U.S. air strike and may never regain command of ISIL, Iraq says

After leading a desert blitzkrieg across Syria and Iraq, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi stood before thousands of followers and proclaimed himself "Caliph" of a new "Islamic State."

But the bloodsoaked reign of a terrorist who achieved global prominence by conquering swathes of the Middle East appears to have been cut short by an American airstrike.

Iraq's government and other sources are convinced that, far from leading his men in battle, Baghdadi now lies critically wounded and subject to constant care. A U.S. air raid near the town of Al-Baaj, 90 miles west of the Iraqi city of Mosul, appears to have injured Baghdadi and killed three of his companions on March 18.

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Christians Struggle to Maintain Legacy versus ISIS

Amid the ISIS assault on Iraq, minorities have borne the brunt. One of those groups is Iraq's Christians, who before the 2003 US invasion were spread throughout the country with a sizeable community in the northwest.

The majority of Iraqi Christians come from the Syriac, Assyrian and Chaldean churches with affiliations mainly to the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Most other denominations have had a presence in Iraq, but have never overtaken these Churches, which are among the oldest in the world.

But many of those Christian areas have been in the crosshairs of last year's sweeping military advances by ISIS.

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Saudi Arabia: 93 people with Isis links arrested in recent months

Saudi authorities say they have arrested 93 people with ties to Islamic State (Isis) in recent months, foiling their plans to carry out terrorist attacks including a strike on the US embassy in Riyadh.

Interior ministry spokesman, Maj Gen Mansour al-Turki, said on Tuesday the arrests include a group of 65 people arrested in March who were involved in a plan that included targeting residential compounds, prisons and security forces.

He said authorities also disrupted a suicide car bomber's plot to attack the US embassy in the capital after receiving information about the plan in mid-March.

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Canada to launch airstrikes against ISIS in Syria 'within days'

Canada will begin launching airstrikes against ISIS in Syria "within days," the commander of Joint Task Force Iraq says.

Brig.-Gen. Daniel Constable declined to give a specific date, but said the final details are being put into place before the Canadian military begins expanding its operation from Iraq into Syria.

"I think we're going to be good to go in reasonable short order," Constable told a media briefing Thursday morning.

"The allies are excited about us getting into Syria as well because of our capabilities."

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