1. According to Reuters, Islamic State released a video on Sunday purporting to show the militant group beheading 21 Egyptian Christians kidnapped in Libya. In the video, militants in black marched the captives, dressed in orange jump suits, to a beach. They were forced down onto their knees, then beheaded. The video appeared on the Twitter feed of a website that supports Islamic State.
2. According to the BBC, Egypt says it has bombed Islamic State targets in Libya, hours after the group published video showing the apparent beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians. State TV said the dawn strikes had targeted camps, training sites and weapons storage areas. Earlier, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Egypt had the “right to respond” against IS. The Coptic church said it was “confident” Egypt would exact retribution. Egypt has declared seven days of national mourning.
3. According to Ynet News & The AP, A Israeli report claims the US administration has stopped updating Israel about developments in nuclear negotiations between world powers and Iran, allegedly in response to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to accept an invitation by Republicans to address Congress on the issue. According to the report US Undersecretary of State, Wendy Sherman has announced she will no longer be updating Israelis about the talks. Susan Rice, Obama’s National Security Advisor, has also reportedly announced she is cutting ties with her Israeli counterpart. The White House denied the allegations saying they were “patently false. The State Department also denied any breakdown in communication between the U.S. and Israel.
4. According to The Associated Press, The latest storm system to sweep the Northeast brought another foot of snow to Boston – on top of 6 feet that has fallen over the last month – and tested New Englanders who say the winter is beginning to feel like one without end. Even after the storm, forecasters warned of exceptionally cold air, perhaps the coldest in years. Strong winds that were expected to continue into Monday reduced visibility, created drifts and complicated an ongoing cleanup effort. Forecasters are talking about another storm on the horizon for midweek.
5. According to Reuters, Thousands of foreigners have flocked to Iraq and Syria in the past two years, mostly to join Islamic State, but a handful of idealistic Westerners are enlisting as well, citing frustration their governments are not doing more to combat the ultra-radical Islamists or prevent the suffering of innocents. The militia they joined is called Dwekh Nawsha – meaning self-sacrifice in the ancient Aramaic language spoken by Christ and still used by Assyrian Christians. Dwekh Nawsha operates alongside Kurdish peshmerga forces to protect Christian villages on the frontline in Nineveh province.
6. According to AFP, France’s interior minister said Sunday several hundred tombs had been defaced at a Jewish cemetery in the northeast of the country, in what he called “a despicable act”. Bernard Cazeneuve without giving further details of the incident said, “The country will not tolerate this new injury which goes against the values that all French people share. Every effort will be made to identify, question and bring to justice the person or persons responsible for this despicable act.” French President Francois Hollande called the desecration an “odious and barbaric act” while Prime Minister Manuel Valls, writing on Twitter, described it as “anti-Semitic and ignoble”.
7. According to USA Today, House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday he’s “certainly” willing to allow counter-terrorism funding to run out at the end of the month if the Senate won’t agree to a provision blocking President Obama’s immigration policies. Boehner said on Fox News Sunday, “The House has acted. We’ve done our job. Senate Democrats are the ones putting us in this precarious position. It’s up to Senate Democrats to get their act together.” The House has passed a Homeland Security funding bill through the end of the fiscal year in September, but it contains what Democrats consider a poison pill: A provision blocking funding for President Obama’s executive actions delaying deportation for about 5 million undocumented immigrants. President Obama has threatened to veto the House bill if it gets to his desk.
8. According to Newsmax, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday urged European Jews to move to Israel after a Jewish man was killed in an attack outside Copenhagen’s main synagogue. “Israel is your home. We are preparing and calling for the absorption of mass immigration from Europe,” Netanyahu said in a statement, repeating a similar call made after attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris last month that killed 17 people, including four Jews. Two police officers were also wounded in Sunday’s attack, one of two fatal shootings in the normally peaceful Danish capital on the weekend.
9. According to Channels Television, Northern Christian Leaders have endorsed General Muhammadu Buhari for the March 2015 presidential elections, saying what Nigeria needs now is a leader that can protect both Christians and Muslims and do justice to all. This was at a meeting of Christian leaders from around the north of the country, which was convened at the instance of the Northern Christian Leaders’ Eagle-Eyes Forum in Abuja to preach the message of peace in the run up to the 2015 elections.
10. According to Reuters, Ukraine’s military said on Sunday pro-Russian rebels had shelled Ukrainian positions on ten separate occasions since a ceasefire came into effect at midnight. A spokesman said, “As of the morning of February 15, there have been ten shelling attacks on our positions by rebels – mainly in the area of Debaltseve.” A Reuters witness in east Ukraine heard the sound of heavy artillery coming from the direction of Debaltseve, a key transport hub where government forces have been hard pressed by encircling separatists.