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US journalist released from Syria 'overwhelmed with emotion'

A US journalist released earlier this week after almost two years of imprisonment in Syria said he was "overwhelmed with emotion" because of the attention he has received upon returning home.

Peter Theo Curtis, 45, was captured in 2012 by Nusra Front and was only released on Sunday.

He said: "I suddenly remember how good the American people are, and what kindness they have in their hearts."

Meanwhile, Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, who is suspected of fighting with Islamic State militants operating in Iraq and Syria, has been killed in the Middle East, a US security official has said.

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Pope Francis urges UN chief to respond to Iraq crisis

Pope Francis has urged the head of the United Nations to respond to the "heartfelt cries of despair of Christians and other religious minorities" in Iraq.

In a letter to Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, he said:

I write to you, Mr Secretary General, and place before you the tears, the suffering and the heartfelt cries of despair of Christians and other religious minorities of the beloved land of Iraq.

– Pope Francis

The pontiff, who is on a visit to South Korea, has been commenting on the Iraq crisis on Twitter in recent days, and has called on Muslim religious leaders to condemn the actions of Islamic State militants.

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