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U.S. charges two Islamic State terrorists for killing U.S. hostages

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The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that it would press charges against two Islamic State terrorists of British origin for their part in the killing of American, British, and Japanese hostages in Syria.

Alexanda Amon Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, both former British citizens, are expected to appear at a federal courthouse in Virginia Wednesday afternoon, according to the statement. They have been indicted on eight counts.

“These charges are the product of many years of hard work in pursuit of justice for our citizens slain by ISIS. Although we cannot bring them back, we can and will seek justice for them, their families, and for all Americans,” said Attorney General William Barr in a statement Wednesday. “Our message to other terrorists around the world is this — if you harm Americans, you will face American arms on the battlefield or American law in our courtrooms. Either way, you will be pursued to the ends of the earth until justice is done.”

At the hands of these terrorists and their collaborators, hostages from many countries faced “a prolonged pattern of physical and psychological violence” and were subsequently murdered, often by beheading, according to the statement. The U.S. citizens murdered alongside these hostages include James Wright Foley, Kayla Jean Mueller, Steven Joel Sotloff, and Peter Edward Kassig.

FBI Director Christopher Wray had some stern words for the terrorists and took a moment to honor the families of the murdered American hostages.

“Today, we remember the victims, Jim Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig, and Kayla Mueller, and their families who are forever affected by these senseless acts of violence,” said Wray. “These families have suffered with the painful loss of their loved ones at the hands of brutal killers; today’s charges demonstrate the FBI’s dedication and commitment to giving them the justice they deserve.”

“We, along with our partners in the U.S. Government,” Wray added, “remain steadfast in our duty to bring to justice those who have harmed our citizens — no matter where they are, and no matter how long it takes. I’m grateful to the men and women of the FBI, the victims’ families, and our domestic and international partners, for their tireless efforts to bring us to where we stand today with the prosecution of these men on U.S. soil.”

The two terrorists operated with two other British nationals. One of these other two, Mohamed Emwazi, is deceased and the other, whom the statement doesn’t name, is presently incarcerated in Turkey. The four were nicknamed “The Beatles” by their hostages for their British accents.

Kotey and Elsheikh, while attempting an escape from Syria into neighboring Turkey, were captured by Syrian Democratic Forces in January 2018.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Trump: Tanks to Ukraine could escalate to use of ‘NUKES’

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Former President Donald Trump stated bluntly on Truth Social,  “FIRST COME THE TANKS, THEN COME THE NUKES. Get this crazy war ended, NOW. So easy to do!”

Trump was referring to the escalation of war in Ukraine. He, like many other commentators and lawmakers, are warning that the decision to continue sending weapons – and now tanks – could potentially lead to the use of “nuclear weapons.”

It’s mission creep and it’s dangerous, they say.

Why? Because Russian President Valdimir Putin has indicated in two different speeches that he would use nuclear weapons to defend Russia, if needed. Those warnings are not just bluster but a very real possibility.

And the escalation of war is visible.

Russia launched 55 missiles strikes across Ukraine Thursday, leaving 11 dead. The strikes come one day after the United States and Germany agreed to send tanks to Ukraine in an effort to aide the country. 47 of the 55 missiles were shot down according to Ukraine’s Air Force command.

Eleven lives were lost and another 11 were injured additionally leaving 35 buildings damaged in the wake of the attacks. According to The New York Times, Denys Shmyhal, said in a post on Telegram. “The main goal is energy facilities, providing Ukrainians with light and heat,” he said.

Ukraine is now demanding that they need F-16 fighter jets. In a post on twitter Ukrainian lawmaker, Oleksiy Goncharenko said, “Missiles again over Ukraine. We need F16.”

The US has abstained from sending advanced jets in the chances that a volatile decision could foster more dangerous attacks like former President Trump’s post on Truth referred to. If the US did authorize the decision to lend Ukraine the F-16 jets Netherlands’ foreign minister, Wopke Hoekstra, would be willing to supply them. According to The New York Times, Hoekstra told Dutch lawmakers, “We are open-minded… There are no taboos.”

F-16 fighter jets are complex to work on, they are not the average aircraft that can be learned in a matter of weeks. It can take months for pilots to learn how to fly these birds. European and US officials have the concern that Ukrainian forces could potentially use the jets to fly into Russian airspace and launch attacks on Russian soil.

Western allies are trying to avoid such a provocation, because that could lead to nuclear warfare in reference to what Putin has said he would do to defend his country.

 

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