A Christian hero in France
International | Plus Palm Sunday in Iraq, the West reproaches Russia, and more international news and notes
by Mindy Belz
Posted 3/26/18, 12:42 pm
FRANCE: The police officer killed as a result of injuries suffered in Friday’s terrorist attack near Carcasonne “went to the end of his testimony of faith,” according to the national police chaplain. Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame was among the first responders to the attack, which began as a carjacking and then moved to a supermarket, where a Moroccan-born gunman claiming allegiance to Islamic State (ISIS) took hostages. Beltrame entered the building without his weapon and volunteered to take the place of one of the female hostages. He was shot during the ensuing gunfire and died overnight from his wounds.
Beltrame, a practicing Catholic, “did not hide his faith, he radiated it,” said the chaplain, the Rev. Dominique Arz. “He went to the end of his service to the country and to the end of his testimony of faith. To believe is not only to adhere to a doctrine. It is first to love God and his neighbor, and to testify of his faith concretely in everyday life.”
IRAQ: This is Qaraqosh, the largest Christian city in Nineveh Plain, on Palm Sunday. ISIS drove the entire population from the city in 2014, killing and taking Christians hostage. But more than 5,000 families have returned and thousands of homes have been rebuilt. I was there earlier this month and wrote about the church-led rebuilding effort for the upcoming issue of WORLD Magazine, which we’ll publish later this week.
ISIS militants blew up a Sufi shrine and attacked an Iranian-backed, pro-government patrol near Kirkuk, killing five, as skirmishes with remnant ISIS fighters continue. The UN mission in Iraq estimates 91 Iraqi civilians were killed and 208 others were injured in acts of terrorism, violence, and armed conflict last month.
RUSSIA: U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian officials and the closure of the Russian Consulate in Seattle over the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal in Britain. Ten European countries also have joined in expelling Moscow diplomats as Skripal and his daughter remain in critical condition weeks after the attack in Britain. (Financial Times offers a little history of Moscow-London spy tactics, subscription required.)
At least 64 people have been killed in a deadly shopping mall fire in Siberia, 2,000 miles east of Moscow.
EGYPT: Three-day nationwide elections kick off Monday with little question President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will win after jailing his main challenger.
VIETNAM: Despite a crackdown, the evangelical population nationwide has grown tenfold since the fall of Saigon 43 years ago this month—a WORLD Magazine exclusive report.
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Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.