Start here: Latest developments in the fight against ISIS
(CNN) — An American ISIS sympathizer says he wanted to shoot up the U.S. Capitol. ISIS gets a boost of support from another terror group. And an advocacy group loses funding because it once helped “Jihadi John.”
Here’s the latest on ISIS and the fight to stop it:
The American suspect
TV station wins interview battle: He didn’t have permission from his lawyer, but terror plot suspect Christopher Cornell talked to the media — and gave explicit details about how he planned to kill President Barack Obama and members of Congress. The Cincinnati man, who describes himself as an ISIS associate, told CNN affiliate WXIX that his plot against U.S. leaders was retaliation for “the continued American aggression against our people and the fact that America, specifically President Obama, wants to wage war against Islamic State.”
Cornell’s attorney claimed WXIX was in contempt of court for violating a January order barring public contact with the suspect without the lawyer’s approval. But a federal judge ruled that the order was vaguely written, and the station was not in violation of the order.
The pledge of allegiance
Support from Boko Haram: In another sign of ISIS’ reach, the Islamist terror group — Nigeria-based Boko Haram — announced its allegiance to ISIS, according to an audio message purportedly from the group’s leader. CNN has not been able to independently authenticate the message, but there are reasons for both Boko Haram and ISIS to join forces.
“Boko Haram joining the ISIS fold makes sense to both groups,” said Jacob Zenn of the Jamestown Foundation. “Boko Haram will get legitimacy, which will help its recruiting, funding and logistics as it expands into (French-speaking) West Africa. … “ISIS gets more international legitimacy as a global caliphate.”
The ‘Jihadi John’ fallout
Charitable losses: The Muslim human rights and advocacy group CAGE won’t get any more funding from two charities because it once helped Mohammed Emwazi — better known as “Jihadi John,” the masked man with a British accent who has appeared in several of ISIS’ beheading videos. Emwazi went to the UK-based CAGE in 2009 looking for support when he felt that British authorities were harassing him, CAGE’s research director said.
The two charities — the Roddick Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust — have given more than 390,000 pounds — or more than $500,000 — to CAGE.
Bulldozing history: It’s not just cities and families that ISIS has destroyed — militants have also used heavy machinery to mow down the ancient landmarks in the Assyrian city of Nimrud that date back to the 13th century BC.
“Letting these lost-gangs go without punishment will encourage them to destroy Humanity’s civilization; the Mesopotamian civilization inflecting irreversible priceless damages and losses,” Iraq’s Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities said.
The fight for Tikrit
Iran in Iraq: As Iraqi forces try to wrest Tikrit free from ISIS control, Iranian forces are actually making significant strides in the battlefield. While Iran has not publicly said it has combat forces in Iraq, it says it has high-profile military trainers.
Tikrit, best known to Westerners as the birthplace of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, fell to ISIS in June 2014. If Iraq regains control of the city, it could mean retaking Mosul — a city 10 times bigger — is possible.
The Australian teen suspects
Not so fast: Sydney Airport authorities stopped two brothers, ages 16 and 17, suspected of trying leave the country to join ISIS. “These were two misguided young Australians, Australian born and bred, who went to school here, grew up here, imbibed our values, and yet it seems they had succumbed to the lure of the death cult and they were on the verge of doing something terrible and dangerous,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.
Australia has good reason to be on alert: It estimates about 90 citizens are fighting and supporting terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria. But the two teens were returned to their families, and the Australian Federal Police have been notified, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said.
“These two young men,” he said, “are kids, not killers.”