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Top IS Militant Taunts Lebanese Shi'ites

  • VOA News

FILE - A man carries an injured woman away from the site of a car bomb explosion in a Shiite southern suburb of Beirut, Jan. 2, 2014.

FILE - A man carries an injured woman away from the site of a car bomb explosion in a Shiite southern suburb of Beirut, Jan. 2, 2014.

A Sunni militant commander in Syria who has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group has threatened to retaliate against Lebanese Shi'ites because of the arrest of his wife and children in Lebanon.

In a video statement, Abu Ali al-Shishani said Shi'ite women and children would be legitimate targets for his militants.

Shishani is flanked by two masked gunmen in the video, which could not be independently verified as authentic. His real name is Anas Sharkas, according to Lebanese authorities.

His threat underscores how Lebanon is increasingly being pulled into the battle with the Islamic State group, which has captured much of Syria and Iraq.

Also Friday, Jordan's King Abdullah called the fight against Islamic State a "third world war" as he urged Muslims to come together to defeat the extremists.

The king spoke to CBS television shortly before meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House.

Obama pledged an increase in U.S. aid to $1 billion annually to Jordan, a key U.S. ally in the Arab coalition battling Islamic State militants.

Obama said Jordan's military has been working side by side with the U.S. and other militaries in providing aid to the moderate opposition in Iraq and Syria, and in reversing some IS territorial gains.

Jordan is one of several Arab nations that have participated in U.S.-led airstrikes against the militants.

Lebanon is a noncombat member of the anti-IS coalition. Lebanese authorities announced the arrest of al-Shishani family members earlier this week, soon after they announced they were holding a wife and child of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Iraqi officials later denied a woman detained in Lebanon is al-Baghdadi's wife, saying she is actually the sister of an imprisoned terror suspect.

The Pentagon said that U.S. officials believe the woman is "a former wife" of al-Baghdadi.

Lebanon is currently negotiating the release of about 20 soldiers and police who are being held hostage by jihadists in Syria.

Lebanon has its own Sunni-Shi'ite tensions and divisions involving Syria's civil war.

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