News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

World News

Grandfather goes to Iraq to join Christians battling IS

Jim Atherton, 53, from Washington, Tyne and Wear, flew to the Middle East to reportedly join up with a Christian militia group who are fighting the Islamist extremists.

The father of three and grandfather of two was described by friends as a quiet man who kept himself to himself and had no army experience.

Speaking to The Sun, he said: "I'm prepared to die fighting IS.

"I'm not a young bloke, I had a heart attack in 2007. But it's something I felt I had to do. I wanted my grandkids to know what I'm really about."

Neighbours said he was a brave man, fighting for his country.

Howard Williamson, 68, a former labourer who has lived on the street for 40 years said he knows him very well.

"I think he's doing a hell of a job and it's really good of him," he said.

The Sun

"He's a much braver man than me, I have known him for a lot of years. He's a tough man to go out there.

"He didn't mention it before, just packed his bags, sold his car and done a flit.

"The family are not very pleased about it, that's what I know. I don't think his wife is very happy.

"I think he's doing a hell of a job going out there, he's fighting for the country and it's a good thing.

"I didn't believe it when I first heard, he's got no experience going in the army.

"He's a nice lad and I get on with him very well, he's quiet and always keeps himself to himself. I hope he gets back in one piece."

Mr Atherton told The Sun he raised £18,000 to pay for his travel and weapons by selling his Sierra Cosworth, two motorbikes and a boat.

He said: "Watching what IS are doing just beats me up. I couldn't stand seeing them killing woman and children willy-nilly.

"People were commenting online about IS atrocities then five minutes later it was all forgotten.

"Nobody seemed to be doing anything about it, so I decided that I would."

The Sun said Mr Atherton had already come under mortar and rocket fire as he protects Christian villages in Iraq.

He said he flew to Turkey and was turned back initially but returned a second time and was able to get a flight to Iraq.

He has since equipped himself with a machine gun, a pistol, a shotgun and a grenade.

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email