Professor hired mercenaries to rescue student from ISIS in Iraq after he said he wouldn’t finish his thesis

Few students can name a professor willing to go the extra mile to ensure their students finish their studies. Fewer still can say their teacher hired an elite team of mercenaries to save you so you can finish your Ph.D. But a chemistry professor from Sweden did exactly that to rescue a student and his family from … Continue reading “Professor hired mercenaries to rescue student from ISIS in Iraq after he said he wouldn’t finish his thesis”

Few students can name a professor willing to go the extra mile to ensure their students finish their studies. Fewer still can say their teacher hired an elite team of mercenaries to save you so you can finish your Ph.D.

But a chemistry professor from Sweden did exactly that to rescue a student and his family from ISIS in Iraq.

Charlotta Turner, a professor at Lund University, in the city of the same name, took the unprecedented action after she received a text message in 2014 from her student Firas Jumaah, saying it was unlikely he would be able to finish his research due to threats from the terror group.

“What was happening was completely unacceptable,” Turner told the university magazine LUM four years later. ”I got so angry that IS [Islamic State] was pushing itself into our world, exposing my doctoral student and his family to this, and disrupting the research.”

GLOBAL STUDY: THREAT OF TERROR FALLING WORLDWIDE, FAR-RIGHT VIOLENCE RISING IN NORTH AMERICA, WESTERN EUROPE

"What was happening was completely unacceptable. I got so angry that IS was pushing itself into our world, exposing my doctoral student and his family to this, and disrupting the research."

— Charlotta Turner

Jumaah told the professor to assume he would not be able to finish his thesis if he did not return within a week, because he was stuck in an Iraqi town being surrounded and shelled by Islamic State militants.

“I had no hope then at all,” Jumaah said. “I was desperate. I just wanted to tell my supervisor what was happening. I had no idea that a professor would be able to do anything for us.”

Firas Jumaah texted his professor to tell her that he’s unlikely to be able to finish his PhD as he was stuck in a town being surounded by ISIS militants. (Facebook)

Jumaah and his family were particularly in danger because they are part of the Yazidi ethnoreligious group that was subject to brutal treatment by ISIS, who often tortured or murdered the men and sold women into sex slavery.

He voluntarily entered the war zone after his wife in the area told him that ISIS had taken over a nearby village, massacring the men and enslaving women, according to The Local.

The threat of danger prompted the professor to take matters into her own hands and contact the university’s then-security chief Per Gustafson.

“It was almost as if he'd been waiting for this kind of mission,” Turner told the university magazine. “Per Gustafson said that we had a transport and security deal which stretched over the whole world.”

SENIOR ISIS LEADER INVOLVED IN KILLING OF FORMER US ARMY RANGER KILLED IN DRONE STRIKE, COALITION SAYS

Firas Jumaah with his wife. (Facebook)

Following a few days of preparations, Gustafson hired a private security company, which then moved into the war zone in two Landcruisers with four heavily-armed mercenaries and one goal: rescue Jumaah and his family.

“It was a unique event. As far as I know, no other university has ever been involved in anything like it," Gustafson said.

"It was a unique event. As far as I know no other university has ever been involved in anything like it."

— Lund University’s then-security chief Per Gustafson.

After finding Jumaah in hiding, they sped to an airport in Erbil Airport, an airport in Iraqi Kurdistan, safely escaping the mortal danger.

“I have never felt so privileged, so VIP,’ Jumaah told LUM. “But at the same time I felt like a coward as I left my mother and sisters behind me.”

Luckily, according to the magazine, the rest of Jumaah’s family survived the occupation of ISIS, which has since been decimated in the region thanks to pushback by the Kurdish forces aided by Western countries.

He successfully completed his Ph.D. and works at a pharmaceutical company in Malmö. The family also almost paid off the university for the mercenaries they hired.

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.

Global study: Threat of terror falling worldwide, far-right violence rising in North America, Western Europe

A new global study is showing the threat of terror is falling worldwide.

The Global Terrorism Index reported that deaths from terrorism have decreased by 27 percent in 2017 to 18,814 globally — the third consecutive year of improvement. The fall in global terrorism is reflected in the index: 96 countries improved this year, with 46 countries diminishing — the highest number of countries to improve year-over-year since 2004.

The global economic impact of terrorism was $52 billion in 2017 — a decrease of 42 percent from the previous year.

The study, which ranks 163 countries, and accounts for 99.6 percent of the world’s population, has been conducted by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) for the last 17 years.

The new report noted nearly all terrorist attacks have taken place in countries where political violence by governments is widespread.

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Steve Killelea, IEP’s executive chairman, explained the outcomes in a statement: “IEP’s research finds that conflict and state terror are the principal causes of terrorism — of the 10 countries most impacted by terrorism, all were involved in at least one violent conflict and eight were involved in a major war with at least 1,000 battle deaths. These ten countries accounted for 84 per cent of all deaths from terrorism in 2017. When combined with countries with high levels of political terror, the number jumps to over 99 per cent. Political terror involves extra-judicial killings, torture and imprisonment without trial.”

The 10 countries most marked by terrorism are: Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan, Egypt, Congo, Central African Republic and India.

However, terrorism is still a global phenomenon with 67 countries recording at least one death in 2017, and there has been an increase in what it identified as far-right terrorism in North America and Western Europe, which in 2017, accounted for 31 attacks and 17 deaths.

Deaths in Europe, likewise, fell by 75 percent. France, Belgium and Germany had significant improvements, however, Spain deteriorated significantly.

Killelea added: “The marked improvements in Europe can be attributed to a number of reasons. ISIL has lost much of its attractiveness due to its military defeats and weakened capabilities to mount attacks in Europe. Increases in counter-terrorism funding, combined with better surveillance techniques, have also contributed to the steep reduction of deaths in Europe from terrorism. However, interestingly, although deaths from terrorism in Europe have decreased, the number of terrorist incidents increased in this period. This highlights that ISIL is losing its ability to plan and coordinate larger scale terrorist attacks, as a result of lessened capabilities and increased counterterrorism measures.”

EUROPE LEADERS FUME OVER IRAN MISSILE TEST

The Islamic State remains the world’s deadliest terrorist group, the study noted.

Video

The report dovetails with the results of an annual report the Trump administration released in September, which highlighted another drop in terrorist attacks worldwide. The State Department’s annual survey of global terrorism said the number of worldwide terrorist attacks dropped by 23 percent last year compared with 2016 — a change largely because of gains against the Islamic State in Iraq. The number also had declined in 2016 over the previous year.

The 23 percent drop in worldwide terrorist attacks in 2017 was attributed mainly to fewer attacks in Iraq, where territory once held by the Islamic State was retaken by government forces. Deaths because of terrorist attacks also decreased by 27 percent last year. The report said ISIS alone carried out 23 percent fewer terrorist attacks and caused 53 percent fewer total deaths, compared with 2016.

FRENCH PROTESTERS KEEP UP RIOT DESPITE TAX DELAY

Despite the drop in attacks, the Trump administration report described the terrorist landscape as “more complex,” and said the terrorist threat to the U.S. and allies around the world had “evolved.” As ISIS lost territory, the group became “dispersed and clandestine, turning to the internet to inspire attacks by distant followers,” which has made the group “less susceptible to conventional military action,” the report said.

Fox News’ Rich Edson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Frank Miles is a reporter and editor covering geopolitics, military, crime, technology and sports for FoxNews.com. His email is Frank.Miles@foxnews.com.

Senior ISIS leader involved in killing of former US Army Ranger killed in drone strike, coalition says

Abu al Umarayn, a senior ISIS leader who was involved in the brutal murder of former U.S. Army Ranger Peter Kassig, was killed in a drone strike in Syria on Sunday, the U.S.-led coalition said.

The leader, along with "several other ISIS members," was killed in precision drone strikes in Syria's Badiyah Desert, coalition spokesperson Col. Sean Ryan said in a statement.

"Al Umarayn had given indications of posing an imminent threat to Coalition Forces and he was involved in the killing of American Citizen and former U.S. Army Ranger, Peter Kassig," officials said. "He has been linked to and directly involved with executing several other prisoners as a senior ISIS member."

FLASHBACK: PETER KASSIG, FORMER ARMY RANGER HELD BY ISIS, WENT TO LEBANON TO HELP SYRIAN REFUGEES

The statement continued, "Coalition airstrikes continue to disrupt ISIS command and control on the battlefield as we remove key figures from their ranks.”

Kassig, a 26-year-old aid worker and U.S. citizen, was captured in Syria in October 2013 as he was providing aid to Syrians who were fleeing the country's civil war. His friends say he converted to Islam in captivity and took the first name Abdul-Rahman. ISIS released graphic video in 2014 showing he was beheaded, and U.S. officials confirmed the footage was authentic.

He enlisted in the Army more than a decade ago, and became a Ranger, ultimately serving in the 75th Ranger Regiment, an Army special operations unit, according to his military record. Kassig trained at Fort Benning, Georgia, in 2006, and deployed to Iraq from April to July 2007. He was medically discharged at the rank of private first class in September 2007.

2014 GRAPHIC ISLAMIC STATE GROUP VIDEO CLAIMS US AID WORKER PETER KASSIG BEHEADED

In a January 2013 interview with Time, Kassig said he traveled heavily throughout Lebanon to assess the needs of people there.

Kassig formed the aid organization Special Emergency Response and Assistance, or SERA, in Turkey to provide aid and assistance to Syrian refugees. He began delivering food and medical supplies to Syrian refugee camps in 2012 and is also a trained medical assistant who provided trauma care to injured Syrian civilians and helped train 150 civilians in providing medical aid.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nicole Darrah covers breaking and trending news for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @nicoledarrah.

Give thanks that ISIS is going, going . . .

As Americans pause this week to give thanks, let us be grateful that the dramatically diminished ISIS caliphate is nearly crushed. And let’s applaud the Trump administration’s role in so severely reducing this threat.

As President Donald J. Trump took office, the Islamic State was not just another terrorist group. It was a Muslim-extremist mini-nation. Straddling Iraq and Syria, ISIS controlled some 17,500 square miles — visualize two New Jerseys — according to the Washington Examiner’s Jamie McIntyre.

Its 35,000 fighters enforced Sharia law, detonated historical sites, hurled gay men off of tall buildings, and displaced, persecuted, and slaughtered tens of thousands of Christians, Shiites, and Yazidis. Radical Muslim fools rushed in, boarded the jihadist bandwagon, and stretched ISIS’ bloody tracks from Paris to Brussels to San Bernardino. The Islamofascist group terrified Europeans and Americans. ISIS’ trained killers and Internet-inspired lone rats could attack anytime, anywhere.

But by last September, this veritable Islamic-terrorist country had shriveled to its last 200 square miles — an area roughly the size of Tulsa.

According to a September 27 Operation Inherent Resolve statement, this U.S.-led multinational effort is responsible for “liberating nearly 8 million Iraqis and Syrians from ISIS’s brutal rule and reducing its control of territory to approximately 1 percent of what it previously held.” The Syrian Democratic Forces have worked closely with American personnel to wipe out ISIS. Today’s military combat reportedly focuses on Deir az-Zour, ISIS’ holdout beside the Euphrates River.

“The fight is continuing, and we hope that it will be over in a few months and that will be the last of ISIS’s terrain that it holds in a quasi-conventional way,” Ambassador James Jeffrey, U.S. special envoy for Syrian engagement, told Reuters. “The enduring defeat means not simply smashing the last of ISIS’s conventional military units holding terrain, but ensuring that ISIS doesn’t immediately come back in sleeper cells, come back as an insurgent movement.”

ISIS has lost nearly all of its real estate. Perhaps more important, it has surrendered tons of prestige. Why would anyone brave the blazing sunshine and blistering sands to join the virtual mirage that is today’s Islamic State caliphate? This would be like fording the Rhine to fight for Nazi Germany — in March 1945.

Why is ISIS’ headquarters nearly gone with the wind? Obama’s pussyfooting yielded to President Trump’s robust attacks.

“The Obama White House micromanaged the war against ISIS and did a poor job of it,” Heritage Foundation national-security scholar Jim Phillips told me. “The Pentagon was forced to pull its punches because of tight political restrictions on the use of force. The Obama administration initially ruled out air strikes against ISIS-controlled oil fields and oil trucks carrying ISIS oil because of a fear of causing civilian casualties.” This brilliant policy made ISIS Earth’s wealthiest terrorist group, awash in petroleum revenues.

This piece appears courtesy of the National Review Online. To continue reading Deroy Murdock's column click here.

Give thanks that ISIS is going, going . . .

As Americans pause this week to give thanks, let us be grateful that the dramatically diminished ISIS caliphate is nearly crushed. And let’s applaud the Trump administration’s role in so severely reducing this threat.

As President Donald J. Trump took office, the Islamic State was not just another terrorist group. It was a Muslim-extremist mini-nation. Straddling Iraq and Syria, ISIS controlled some 17,500 square miles — visualize two New Jerseys — according to the Washington Examiner’s Jamie McIntyre.

Its 35,000 fighters enforced Sharia law, detonated historical sites, hurled gay men off of tall buildings, and displaced, persecuted, and slaughtered tens of thousands of Christians, Shiites, and Yazidis. Radical Muslim fools rushed in, boarded the jihadist bandwagon, and stretched ISIS’ bloody tracks from Paris to Brussels to San Bernardino. The Islamofascist group terrified Europeans and Americans. ISIS’ trained killers and Internet-inspired lone rats could attack anytime, anywhere.

But by last September, this veritable Islamic-terrorist country had shriveled to its last 200 square miles — an area roughly the size of Tulsa.

According to a September 27 Operation Inherent Resolve statement, this U.S.-led multinational effort is responsible for “liberating nearly 8 million Iraqis and Syrians from ISIS’s brutal rule and reducing its control of territory to approximately 1 percent of what it previously held.” The Syrian Democratic Forces have worked closely with American personnel to wipe out ISIS. Today’s military combat reportedly focuses on Deir az-Zour, ISIS’ holdout beside the Euphrates River.

“The fight is continuing, and we hope that it will be over in a few months and that will be the last of ISIS’s terrain that it holds in a quasi-conventional way,” Ambassador James Jeffrey, U.S. special envoy for Syrian engagement, told Reuters. “The enduring defeat means not simply smashing the last of ISIS’s conventional military units holding terrain, but ensuring that ISIS doesn’t immediately come back in sleeper cells, come back as an insurgent movement.”

ISIS has lost nearly all of its real estate. Perhaps more important, it has surrendered tons of prestige. Why would anyone brave the blazing sunshine and blistering sands to join the virtual mirage that is today’s Islamic State caliphate? This would be like fording the Rhine to fight for Nazi Germany — in March 1945.

Why is ISIS’ headquarters nearly gone with the wind? Obama’s pussyfooting yielded to President Trump’s robust attacks.

“The Obama White House micromanaged the war against ISIS and did a poor job of it,” Heritage Foundation national-security scholar Jim Phillips told me. “The Pentagon was forced to pull its punches because of tight political restrictions on the use of force. The Obama administration initially ruled out air strikes against ISIS-controlled oil fields and oil trucks carrying ISIS oil because of a fear of causing civilian casualties.” This brilliant policy made ISIS Earth’s wealthiest terrorist group, awash in petroleum revenues.

This piece appears courtesy of the National Review Online. To continue reading Deroy Murdock's column click here.

Give thanks that ISIS is going, going . . .

As Americans pause this week to give thanks, let us be grateful that the dramatically diminished ISIS caliphate is nearly crushed. And let’s applaud the Trump administration’s role in so severely reducing this threat.

As President Donald J. Trump took office, the Islamic State was not just another terrorist group. It was a Muslim-extremist mini-nation. Straddling Iraq and Syria, ISIS controlled some 17,500 square miles — visualize two New Jerseys — according to the Washington Examiner’s Jamie McIntyre.

Its 35,000 fighters enforced Sharia law, detonated historical sites, hurled gay men off of tall buildings, and displaced, persecuted, and slaughtered tens of thousands of Christians, Shiites, and Yazidis. Radical Muslim fools rushed in, boarded the jihadist bandwagon, and stretched ISIS’ bloody tracks from Paris to Brussels to San Bernardino. The Islamofascist group terrified Europeans and Americans. ISIS’ trained killers and Internet-inspired lone rats could attack anytime, anywhere.

But by last September, this veritable Islamic-terrorist country had shriveled to its last 200 square miles — an area roughly the size of Tulsa.

According to a September 27 Operation Inherent Resolve statement, this U.S.-led multinational effort is responsible for “liberating nearly 8 million Iraqis and Syrians from ISIS’s brutal rule and reducing its control of territory to approximately 1 percent of what it previously held.” The Syrian Democratic Forces have worked closely with American personnel to wipe out ISIS. Today’s military combat reportedly focuses on Deir az-Zour, ISIS’ holdout beside the Euphrates River.

“The fight is continuing, and we hope that it will be over in a few months and that will be the last of ISIS’s terrain that it holds in a quasi-conventional way,” Ambassador James Jeffrey, U.S. special envoy for Syrian engagement, told Reuters. “The enduring defeat means not simply smashing the last of ISIS’s conventional military units holding terrain, but ensuring that ISIS doesn’t immediately come back in sleeper cells, come back as an insurgent movement.”

ISIS has lost nearly all of its real estate. Perhaps more important, it has surrendered tons of prestige. Why would anyone brave the blazing sunshine and blistering sands to join the virtual mirage that is today’s Islamic State caliphate? This would be like fording the Rhine to fight for Nazi Germany — in March 1945.

Why is ISIS’ headquarters nearly gone with the wind? Obama’s pussyfooting yielded to President Trump’s robust attacks.

“The Obama White House micromanaged the war against ISIS and did a poor job of it,” Heritage Foundation national-security scholar Jim Phillips told me. “The Pentagon was forced to pull its punches because of tight political restrictions on the use of force. The Obama administration initially ruled out air strikes against ISIS-controlled oil fields and oil trucks carrying ISIS oil because of a fear of causing civilian casualties.” This brilliant policy made ISIS Earth’s wealthiest terrorist group, awash in petroleum revenues.

This piece appears courtesy of the National Review Online. To continue reading Deroy Murdock's column click here.