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(...)

Rebel fighters walk around the Hamidiya base, one of two military posts they took control of from forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad on Monday. Photograph: Reuters.

Around 100 Syrian soldiers and 80 Islamist fighters were killed during a two-day battle in which insurgents captured the Wadi al-Deif military base, (...)

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. EPA/Julien Warnand

EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels have given their backing to a UN-led “freeze” in the city of Aleppo, in a bid to improve the humanitarian si(...)

Children sit next to a wall painted with an opposition flag along a street in Aleppo yesterday. The Syrian army today targeted Islamic State militants in the town of al-Bab, which lies just northeast of Aleppo. Photograph: Hosam Katan/Reuters

At least 21 people were killed and around 100 wounded today when Syrian army planes bombed a town in northern Syria that is controlled by Islamic S(...)

A file image of an explosion that occurred  after an apparent US-led coalition airstrike on Islamic State targets near Kobani in Syria last week. Photograph: Erdem Sahin/EPA.

A US-led coalition set up to fight Islamic State has bombed the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and another radical faction in northwest Syria. The(...)