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IS Group Posts Video of Captive British Journalist

The Islamic State group released a video Thursday of a British freelance photojournalist, John Cantlie, in which he says he is being held captive.

In the video posted on YouTube, Cantlie, wearing an orange jumpsuit, speaks to the camera in the style of a news report and promises to reveal in a series of programs the "truth" about the jihadist group that has seized parts of Iraq and Syria.

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'Slow Progress' in Troops Case as Families Urge Captors to Stop Death Threats to Facilitate Talks

The families of the troops abducted by Syria-based jihadist groups on Thursday urged the kidnappers to stop threatening to kill more soldiers, as highly-informed sources said negotiations have made “slow progress.”

Prime Minister Tammam “Salam told us that the negotiations have not stopped and that the demands received by the government need some time,” Jamaa Islamiya member Ahmed al-Ayyoubi said on behalf of the families after a meeting with the premier.

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French Lower House Approves Bill to Crack down on Jihadists

France's lower house National Assembly Thursday approved an "anti-terrorism" bill which will usher in a travel ban on anyone suspected of planning to wage jihad abroad.

The bill comes as authorities are increasingly concerned about the number of French citizens traveling to fight in Iraq and Syria who could potentially come back and stage attacks in their home country.

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IS Jihadists Smaller Global Threat than Al-Qaida

The Islamic State group poses a smaller global threat than Al-Qaida despite its recent beheadings of three Westerners, although battle-hardened fighters returning home remain a concern, analysts said on Thursday.

U.S. President Barack Obama is gathering an international coalition to fight the jihadist group based across Syria and Iraq following the release of videos showing the murders of two US journalists and a British aid worker.

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IS Jihadists Close in on Syria Kurd Town

Jihadists from the Islamic State group using heavy weapons have seized a string of villages around Ain al-Arab as they close in on Syria's third largest Kurdish town, a monitor said Thursday.

"IS fighters have seized at least 21 villages around Kobane," said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights head Rami Abdel Rahman, using the Kurdish name for Ain al-Arab.

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Iraqi Christians Suffering Like Jews Did, Pope Tells Jewish Leader

Pope Francis has warned that Christians in Iraq and Syria face persecution just as Jews have in the past, a prominent American Jewish leader said Thursday.

"You have suffered, now it's our turn," World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder said the pope told him in a private audience.

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Nearly 3 Million Syrian Children Not in School

Nearly three million Syrian children are not attending school due to the war raging in their country, an international charity group said Thursday.

The report by the Britain-based Save the Children added that hundreds of thousands of displaced children are struggling to enroll for school in their host countries and in Syria.

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Report: Several Jihadist Suspects Held in Kuwait

Kuwait has arrested several suspected members of the Islamic State group and is monitoring dozens more under its commitment to the U.S.-led international coalition against the jihadists, media reported Thursday.

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Fears of Rise in Extremism in Tripoli over IS, al-Nusra Front 'Infiltration'

There are rising fears that the northern city of Tripoli will become a hub for Islamic State and al-Nusra Front fighters, who have engaged in gunbattles with the Lebanese army in a border town and beheaded two soldiers.

As Safir daily on Thursday quoted security officials as saying that extremists have been spending huge amounts of money to lure young men and encourage them to be armed.

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Iran FM: IS Militants Can't be Defeated by Air Strikes

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hit out against the Islamic State group Wednesday as a "dangerous phenomenon," but warned it could not be defeated by air strikes.

Accusing other nations of having created "a Frankenstein that has come to haunt its creators," Zarif said at a Washington think-tank that the Islamic militants cannot be "eradicated through aerial bombardments," nor can they be contained.

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