Father begs militants to release his son
The father of a Jordanian pilot captured by the Islamic State group in Syria pleaded for his son's release on Thursday, asking them to treat him well in captivity as a fellow Muslim.
So far, there has been silence from the extremists about 1st Lt. Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh since gunmen from the group dragged him away after his crash Wednesday.
Kaseasbeh was carrying out air strikes against the militants when his warplane crashed near Raqqa, Syria. The Islamic State group has executed captured Iraqi and Syrian Muslim soldiers in the past. Still, the group may want to negotiate a prisoner swap or other concessions from Jordan.
The pilot is the first known military member to be captured from the international coalition that has been waging a bombing campaign against the Islamic State group for months, trying to break its control over territory stretching across Syria and Iraq. - AP
John Paul's shooter
Iran has rejected claims by Mehmet Ali Agca that late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ordered him to assassinate Pope John Paul II. The Turkish gunman reiterated in a Serbian TV interview this week the claims he made in his book They Promised Me Paradise. Agca says he told John Paul of the Iranian connection when he visited him in prison. The Iranian Embassy in Belgrade on Thursday denied the claims, saying "Imam Khomeini . . . maintained very good relations with different religions, including the pope." The Vatican had also dismissed the claims. - AP
Monkey to the rescue