Start here: Latest developments in fight against ISIS

(CNN)ISIS launches a new assault but gets pushed back. Libya makes a plea for help. U.S. President Barack Obama speaks out about extremism.

And new signs of the group's brutality emerge: claims that ISIS is harvesting organs from slain civilians, and reports that ISIS fighters have burned up to 40 people alive in Iraq.
Here's the latest on the terror group ISIS and the global efforts to stop it:

    Brutal violence

    40 burned alive, official says: ISIS burned alive up to 40 people near the town of al-Baghdadi in Iraq's massive Anbar province, an official told CNN on Wednesday. Anbar provincial council chairman Sabah Karkhout said he was advised by his field commanders near the al-Baghdadi front line that ISIS militants killed at least 40 police officers and tribesman and that most of the victims were "burned to death."
    CNN hasn't independently confirmed that report. Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said that he had heard the report and seen imagery. "It's being analyzed," Kirby said. "I'm not in a position as we speak right now to confirm the authenticity of it."
    Organ harvesting claim: The United Nations is "looking into" allegations that ISIS is harvesting organs from slain civilians and gaining financial benefits from trafficking the body parts, according to Mark Lyall Grant, Britain's ambassador to the United Nations.
    Iraq's U.N. ambassador, Mohamed Alhakim, made the allegations, telling reporters Tuesday that his country has asked the U.N. Security Council to investigate. The Iraqi envoy said 10 male doctors and two female doctors in Mosul were killed after they refused to remove organs from bodies. Grant told CNN that the issue has not been discussed, and there was no proof or evidence of the allegations.
    Iraqi envoy says ISIS may be harvesting victims' organs
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    New battlefront: Libya

    Libya asks for end to weapons embargo: Libya called for the lifting of the U.N.-imposed arms embargo on the North African nation so it can better fight terrorism. Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Dayri's request before the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday came days after ISIS beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya.
    Egypt says more should be done to block arms: At the same meeting, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry called for a naval blockade on arms heading to areas in Libya that are outside the control of the country's legitimate authorities "to prevent the acquisition of arms by all nonstate militias."
    Egypt carried out airstrikes against ISIS targets in Derna, Libya, on Monday, hours after an ISIS-affiliated group released a video showing the beheading of 21 Christians. They were captives held for more than a month.
    Egypt has called on the U.S.-led coalition, to which Egypt belongs, to act "firmly" against the ISIS threat in Libya.
    Is ISIS in control of affiliates in Libya and Syria?
    Is ISIS in control of affiliates in Libya and Syria?

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    Is ISIS in control of affiliates in Libya and Syria? 02:07

    The offensive

    Close call: ISIS fighters launched a major new assault in northern Iraq but were ultimately repelled. The fighting took place about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from the Kurdish capital of Irbil and challenged Kurds already stretched thin in the area.
    Coalition aircraft were in the area but weren't able to help with airstrikes because ISIS and the Kurds were fighting in close quarters. By Wednesday, however, the Kurds succeeded in forcing ISIS back, and airstrikes started. About 40 ISIS fighters were killed, Kurdish commanders said.
    Kurds regain control after ISIS attack near Irbil
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    Kurds regain control after ISIS attack near Irbil 03:04

    The counteroffensive

    Call-in orders: The United States is considering giving moderate Syrian rebels the ability to call in U.S. airstrikes via GPS, a U.S. defense official said. It's part of a U.S. plan to help rebel groups defend local areas from ISIS. But Washington added that even if the capability is provided, the United States wouldn't aerially bomb areas without additional intelligence -- independently gathered.
    ISIS kill list: The United States is maintaining a list of about two dozen top ISIS operatives in Iraq and Syria that it hopes to target in airstrikes, a senior U.S. official said. The No. 1 target on the list is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS.
    Secret U.S. 'hit list' of ISIS suspects revealed
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    The summit

    Obama: 'We are not at war with Islam': Al Qaeda and ISIS are "desperate for legitimacy," U.S. President Barack Obama said Wednesday at his three-day Summit on Countering Violent Extremism. "They try to portray themselves as religious leaders, holy warriors in defense of Islam," he said. "We must never accept the premise that they put forward because it is a lie. Nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek. They are not religious leaders. They are terrorists."
    The White House has gone out of its way not to name Islamic extremism as the summit's central focus. It says it's wary of elevating the terrorists into religious warriors. Republicans and some terrorism experts say the threat from Muslim-aligned radicals should be addressed directly.
    "We are not at war with Islam," Obama said Wednesday. "We are at war with people who have perverted Islam."
    Obama: 'We are not at war with Islam'
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    The captives

    To pay or not to pay: There's a "frank" disagreement among allies on hostage ransoms. The United States and United Kingdom refuse to pay ISIS to free their captive citizens.
    But France, Italy and Turkey are among those who've been accused of ponying up. ISIS has earned nearly $40 million from ransoms, a British diplomat says, and the going rate for a single Western hostage has risen to $6 million.
    Coalition divided on paying ransom for hostages
    Coalition divided on paying ransom for hostages

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    The activists

    Fighting ISIS online: Some hidden (but vocal) Syrians are risking their lives to describe what's going on in their country. While ISIS often shows propaganda videos suggesting that life is good in the cities they claim, activists tell a different story by posting their own updates and photos.
    Syrian activists risk their lives to counter ISIS' claims
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    Some of the images are grotesque; one shows a decapitated man tied to a pole with his head in his lap, a warning of the consequences that may befall any who violate the terror group's draconian rule.
    The mighty pen: A few years ago, Jordanian comic book creator Suleiman Bakhit started researching extremist ideology and discovered something shocking. "The kids in the West, they grow up on 'Spider-Man,' 'Batman,' 'Frozen,' " he said. "In large parts of the Middle East, kids grow up on jihadist ideology."
    For them, the only heroes to look up to were men such as Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Bakhit decided to change the narrative. So he created "Element Zero," a special forces operative fighting Islamic extremists.
    Fighting extremists with super heroes
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