WSVN — Internationally, this past year brought a new terror threat, echoes of Cold War-Era Russia and a mid-air mystery that remains unsolved to this day. There were a lot of compelling stories making world headlines in 2014. 7’s Craig Stevens takes a look back in tonight’s “7’s Top 7.”
2014 was the year an Al-Qaeda splinter group called ISIS gained world notoriety for brutal executions, which it video taped and uploaded to YouTube.
U.S. Journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff of Florida both beheaded. The Pinecrest native was killed just a week after his mother issued a plea directly to the leader of ISIS.
“I ask you to please release my child.”
Another American and two British nationals were also beheaded. ISIS wants to establish an Islamic state across Iraq and Syria.
An Iranian native living in Australia took 17 people hostage in a Sydney Cafe earlier this month. One of his demands, an ISIS flag.
Police rushed in under a hail of bullets after 17 hours, the gunman and two hostages were killed.
A horrific attack at a school in Pakistan. The Taliban murdering more than 100 children.
Victim Translation: “We hid under the desks, they shot dead our teacher and burned her.”
The terror group said the raid was in retaliation for the killing of Taliban fighters.
In November, terrorism struck our neighbors to the north in November. A Canadian soldier was gunned down in front of a national war memorial. The 32-year-old gunman, a recent convert to Islam, then hijacked a car and drove to the Parliament building, where he was killed.
Agony for families when a commercial airliner carrying 239 people vanished. Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 took off from Kuala Lumpur, March 8. The search began around Malaysia but soon switched to the South Indian Ocean off Perth, Australia. To date, there has been no sign of the missing plane.
Just four months later, another Malaysian Airlines disaster. Flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine by a surface-to-air missile, suspected to have been fired by a Pro-Russian militant group.
Russian President Vladimir Putin denied responsibility for the downed plane, sparking international outrage.
Putin’s motives involving Ukraine were in question throughout the year. Protesters took to the streets of Kiev after Ukraine’s president signed a trade agreement with Russia, instead of with Europe.
By March, Russian soldiers invaded Ukraine, marching into Crimea and surrounding two military bases.
Putin insisting the conflict is the work of pro-russian rebels of which he has no control.
Rockets rained down in Israel and Gaza again this year. A 50-day war saw more bloodshed.
Israeli defense forces launched a ground operation in Gaza, including the destruction of so-called “Terror Tunnels.” Hamas retaliated with more bombs and missiles.
And more horror in the holyland. Four rabbis were killed when two Palestinian cousins targeted a synagogue in Jerusalem during morning prayers. They attacked with guns, and even meat cleavers. Three of the four rabbis killed were Americans
In Nigeria, the search continues for hundreds of girls abducted from their school by the terrorist group Boko Haram.
There was world wide outrage. The cause gained attention on social media with the bring back our girls hashtag.
More children were the victims of a tragedy at sea. Hundreds of students among the passengers trapped inside a sinking South Korean ferry. Despite rescue attempts, 304 passengers died.
And in South Africa, former Olympic star Oscar Pistorius was found guilty of shooting girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp in his home.
Pistorius is now serving a five-year prison sentence.
Tuesday on 7’s top 7, a look back at the biggest national stories in 2014. In the Plex, Craig Stevens, 7News.