Islamic State releases 19 Christian captives for ransom

Israel’s Arutz Sheva reported that the 19 Christians who were released by the Islamic State Sunday were freed because a ransom was paid for each of the captives.

The ransom, considered a jizya (tax paid by non-Muslims to Muslims in Islamic territory) by the Islamic State’s religious courts, was likely around $1,700 per person, the director of the Assyrian Network for Human Rights told Arutz Sheva.

BEIRUT (AP) — The Islamic State group released at least 19 Christians on Sunday who were among the more than 220 people the militants took captive in northeastern Syria last week, activists and a local leader said.

The news provided a modicum of relief to a Christian Assyrian community that has been devastated by the abductions, which saw Islamic State fighters haul off entire families from a string of villages along the Khabur River in Hassakeh province. But fears remain over the fate of the hundreds still held captive.

Bashir Saedi, a senior official in the Assyrian Democratic Organization, said the 16 men and three women arrived safely Sunday at the Church of the Virgin Mary in the city of Hassakeh. He said the 19 — all of them from the village of Tal Ghoran — had traveled by bus from the Islamic State-held town of Shaddadeh south of Hassakeh.

By Associated Press & Zach Noble – The Blaze –