Turkish tanks in the northern Syrian town of Kobani this week. The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, backed by US-led air strikes,  drove Islamic State from the town last month. Photograph: Mursel Coban/Depo Photos/Reuters

Kurdish militia pressed a big offensive against Islamic State in northeast Syria on Wednesday, cutting one of its supply lines from Iraq, as fears mo(...)

 Relatives and mourners arrive for the funeral of Coptic Christians, kidnapped and killed by extremists linked to the Islamic State group in Libya, outside a church in al-Aour village, Egypt. Photograph: EPA

Women living under Islamic State’s control in Iraq and Syria are facing increasingly harsh restrictions on movement and dress, which are rigorously en(...)

Kayla Mueller was abducted in Aleppo, Syria in August 2013. Photograph: Mueller Family/Handout via Reuters

The young American hostage who Islamic State says was killed in a Jordanian air strike was condemned to death by the militant group last year, accordi(...)

Kayla Mueller’s family have said they are hopeful she is still alive. Photograph: Reuters

The parents of an American humanitarian worker held hostage by Islamic State since August 2013 said on Friday they are hopeful she is still alive, aft(...)

Protesters holding placards  during a demonstration in front of the prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo.  Some  200 people took part in the demonstration that saw the participants not only protesting against the relocation of a US military base to Henoko in the Okinawa prefecture, but also rallying in support of Kenji Goto, the remaining Japanese captive held by Islamic State militants. Photograph: Yuya Shino/Reuters

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has called the killing of a Japanese captive by Islamic State militants “outrageous” and again demanded the group r(...)

 The Islamic State militant group threatened on Tuesday to behead Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa unless Japan’s government paid a ransom of $200m (€176 million) within 72 hours. Photograph: Al-Furqan Media/AFP/Getty Images

A presumed deadline for the execution of two Japanese hostages came and went on Friday with no news from their captors, Islamic State (IS). The group (...)

An image grab taken off a video reportedly released by the Islamic State (IS) allegedly shows Japanese hostages Kenji Goto (L) and Haruna Yukawa (R) in orange jumpsuits with a black-clad militant. Photograph: Getty Images/AFP/HO/Al Furqan Media 1:08

It is an unlikely friendship that ties the fates of war correspondent Kenji Goto and troubled loner Haruna Yukawa, the two Japanese hostages for wh(...)

Greta Ramelli (left) and Vanessa Marzullo, two Italian aid workers taken hostage in Syria five months ago, arrive at Ciampino airport in Rome.  Italy’s foreign ministry said the pair were taken hostage while seeking to provide healthcare assistance in the embattled northern city of Aleppo. Photograph: Alessandro Bianchi/Reuters

Two Italian women abducted by Islamist militants while doing aid work in northern Syria last year have been freed and are en route home, Italy’s gover(...)

Latin Christian clergy walk through the Church of the Nativity, accepted by Christians as the birthplace of Jesus Christ, in the West Bank town of Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. Photograph: EPA/Jim Hollander

A leading member of the Irish hierarchy has called for an end to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, saying religious freedom is at the (...)

Pope Francis and other senior Christian and Muslim clerics have urged members of the ancient Christian communities of the Middle East to stay on in the region despite conflict and discrimination. Photograph: Reuters/Osservatore Romano

Ahead of Christmas, senior Christian and Muslim clerics have urged members of the ancient Christian communities of the Middle East, the cradle of t(...)