Globe Trot A summary of international news compiled by senior editor Mindy Belz

U.S. holds militants who killed Westerners

International | Parents of slain Americans demand justice
by Mindy Belz
Posted 7/23/20, 01:45 pm

SYRIA: Parents of four Americans killed by Islamic State (ISIS) are demanding the Trump administration transfer to the United States two surviving ISIS leaders to face trial.

Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh—two members of a group of four British ISIS leaders known as “the Beatles”—in recent interviews admitted their involvement in the captivity of American aid worker Kayla Mueller. The interviews also disclosed that the pair, who joined the British ISIS commander known as “Jihadi John” in beheading Westerners, are in U.S. custody in Iraq after transfer from Syria, where Kurdish forces allied with the United States detained them.

The parents have long sought justice for their slain children, whose bodies have not been recovered and captors not brought to trial. Last year, Marsha Mueller, mother of Kayla, told me the family distributed fliers in Syria offering a reward for new information after “credible sources” indicated her daughter might be alive. The head of a U.S. hostage task force said at the time the Mueller investigation remained an “active case.”

TURKEY’s intelligence agency tried to pass off al-Qaeda and ISIS militants as moderate Syrian opposition fighters in a Pentagon-funded training program under the Obama administration. Documents indicate the CIA, through June 2016, cleared hundreds of candidates recommended by Turkish counterparts to train and arm against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

CHINA: U.S. officials ordered China to shut its consulate in Houston on Wednesday, accusing it and other Chinese diplomatic missions of economic espionage and visa fraud. Focus now has moved to San Francisco, where a researcher who lied about her affiliation with a Chinese military university entered the Chinese Consulate after the FBI interviewed her in June.

A document obtained by The New York Times outlines multiple FBI investigations into the Houston consulate linked to the illegal transfer of medical research and other scientific fraud.

HONG KONG: The British government will accept perhaps 3 million Hong Kong residents with British passports and put them on a path to U.K. citizenship in five years. Hong Kong was a British territory until 1997, and British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the country would “not duck our historic responsibility” after China imposed a new national security law on June 30.

SOUTH KOREA: Police have launched an investigation into the status of Voice of the Martyrs in South Korea after North Korea asked South Korean officials to halt balloon launches and other campaigns to deliver Bibles across the border.

NIGERIA: Islamic State West Africa executed five captured aid workers and released a video clip showing their killings on Wednesday. The five Nigerian men killed include a staff member with the International Rescue Committee and Action Against Hunger.

SAUDI ARABIA: In a first, Muslims from abroad cannot attend the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca due to fears of COVID-19 spread. Officials are limiting the event to about 1,000 pilgrims from within Saudi Arabia.

GLOBAL: Six months into the pandemic, researchers are learning COVID-19 is deadlier than the seasonal flu. While not as lethal as Ebola and other infectious diseases, it’s killing more people because it’s more contagious.

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Editor’s note: WORLD has clarified the police action taking place in South Korea involving Voice of the Martyrs.


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Mindy Belz

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.

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