The self-styled Islamic State is losing key battles on the ground in Iraq and Syria and in the propaganda wars as well. A Kurdish victory in Kobane would be a stinging blow.
Its new hostage video calls on Japan, whose prime minister is touring the Middle East, to ends its 'foolish' support of the US-led campaign against Islamic State, and marks the first time the group has demanded cash in a video.
Israel did not confirm the strikes, reportedly near the Damascus airport and Lebanon's border, but analysts noted Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke earlier of dealing with regional threats.
Unnamed officials say authorities detained family members of the Islamic State's Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi at the Syrian-Lebanese border.
Gill Rosenberg, a foreigner fighting with Kurdish forces in Syria, was allegedly captured by the Islamic State. Various Kurdish sources report Ms. Rosenberg is safe, but military officials have not provided evidence of life.