Middle East Updates Ramadi Falls to ISIS

Suicide car bombs kill 10 Iraqi soldiers in Ramadi Two courthouses bombed in Egypt U.S. forces kill at least 32 ISIS members in Syria Syrian state TV: Army kills 5 ISIS leaders in eastern Syria

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Iraqi family members prepare to leave their hometown of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, 115 km west of Baghdad, Iraq, May 15, 2015.
Iraqi family members prepare to leave their hometown of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, 115 km west of Baghdad, Iraq, May 15, 2015.Credit: AP

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11:39 P.M. Jordan's interior minister resigns, state media report

Jordan's state news agency Petra says the interior minister has submitted his resignation, citing a failure of security agencies to coordinate on issues concerning stability and the security of citizens.

The Petra agency says King Abdullah II on Sunday accepted the resignation of the minister, Hussein Majali.

The report did not say why specifically Majali resigned.

The news agency quoted Jordan's prime minister as saying that Abdullah is "exercising no tolerance with those tempted to tamper with the foundations upon which the kingdom was established or attacking public or private property." (Reuters)

10:11 P.M Key Iraqi city of Ramadi falls to ISIS

The Islamic State group seized control of the city of Ramadi on Sunday, sending Iraqi forces racing out of the city in a major loss despite the support of U.S.-led airstrikes targeting the extremists.

Online video showed Humvees, trucks and other equipment purportedly speeding out of Ramadi, with some soldiers gripping onto their sides. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi ordered security forces not to abandon their posts across Anbar province, apparently fearing the extremists could capture the entirety of the vast Sunni province that saw intense fighting after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of the country to topple dictator Saddam Hussein.

The retreat recalled the collapse of Iraqi police and military forces last summer, when the Islamic State group's initial blitz into Iraq saw it capture about a third of the country. It also calls into questions American officials hopes of relying solely on airstrikes to support the Iraqi forces in expelling the extremists. (AP) Read the full story

9:33 P.M. Jordan's interior minister resigns, police chief dismissed

King Abdullah accepted the resignation of Jordan's interior minister and the government dismissed the chief of police over the mishandling of a crackdown in the south of the country and abuses in prisons, officials said on Sunday.

Two officials contacted by Reuters said the monarch accepted the resignation of Interior Minister Hussein al-Majali and a decision was taken to send the heads of the country's police and gendarme to retirement.
One official said a heavy-handed police crackdown in the southern tribal city of Maan and torture of a detainee during interrogation that led to his death, were behind the dismissals. (Reuters)

7:50 P.M. ISIS breaks into military base in Iraq's Anbar – army sources

Islamic State militants broke into a key military base in Iraq's western province of Anbar on Sunday, army sources said.

The base is located on the western edge of the provincial capital Ramadi, which has been largely overrun by the insurgents since Friday. (Reuters)

7:21 P.M. Iraqi premier: Don't abandon Anbar to ISIS

Iraqi state television is reporting the country's prime minister has ordered security forces not to abandon their positions in Anbar province to the Islamic State group.

The order Sunday by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi came as some Iraqi forces retreated from Ramadi, the provincial capital. It wasn't clear whether Iraq still maintained any control of the city, which ISIS seized much of in recent days. (AP)

6:07 P.M. Egypt executes six tried by military court

Egypt executed six men Sunday convicted by a military court over a gunfight last year at a suspected bomb factory, as explosives planted outside of courthouses wounded two people following the death sentence given to ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.

The six executed men were convicted of killing two military officers in an hourlong battle with police, military and special forces during a raid north of Cairo in March 2014.

Judicial officials said the men also were convicted of belonging to the Sinai-based militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which has since pledged allegiance to ISIS. (AP)

5:20 P.M. U.S., allies conduct 18 air strikes in Iraq, eight in Syria

U.S. and allied forces have launched 18 air strikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq since Saturday morning, including seven near Ramadi, the western provincial capital recently seized by the militant forces, the U.S. military said.

The strikes near Ramadi hit targets including tactical units, a facility producing improvised explosive devices, and other buildings, the Combined Joint Task Force said in a statement on Sunday.

4:43 P.M. Syrian state TV: Army kills 5 ISIS leaders in eastern Syria

The Syrian army has killed five Islamic State leaders in an attack in eastern Syria, Syrian state TV reported on Saturday. A headline bar quoting the state TV correspondent in the eastern province of Deir al-Zor identified the five as Saudi, Turkish, Chechen, Jordanian and Iraqi.

The United States said on Saturday its U.S. special forces had carried out a raid that killed a Tunisian identified as an ISIS member in the same area of Syria. (Reuters)

3:14 P.M. Suicide car bombs kill 10 Iraqi soldiers in besieged Ramadi

Authorities say multiple suicide car bomb attacks have killed 10 members of Iraqi security forces in Ramadi, which now is largely held by the Islamic State group.

Police and army officials say four near-simultaneous bombings Sunday targeted police officers defending the Malaab district in southern Ramadi, killing five and wounding 15.

Later on, police say three suicide bombers drove their explosive-laden cars into the gate of the Anbar Operation Command, the military headquarters for the province, killing five soldiers and wounding 12.

Fierce clashes erupted between security forces and ISIS militants following the attacks. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren't authorized to talk to journalists. (AP)

2:47 P.M. Two courthouses bombed in Egypt

Egyptian security officials say bombs have targeted courthouses in two cities, wounding two people in what could be retaliation for the sentencing to death of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi the day before.

They say one bomb targeted the main courthouse in the southern city of Assiut late Saturday, seriously injuring a policeman. Early Sunday, a small girl was injured when a bomb went off near a courthouse in Port Said, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The attacks came after suspected Islamic militants gunned down three judges in the Sinai Peninsula on Saturday, just hours after a Cairo court sentenced Morsi to death over his role in a mass prison break in 2011. (AP)

1:35 P.M. U.S. special forces, air strikes kill at least 32 ISIS members in Syria

At least 32 Islamic State members, including four of its leaders, were killed in air strikes and a U.S. special forces raid that targeted the group in eastern Syria, a group monitoring the Syrian war said on Sunday.

U.S. officials said the raid killed a senior Islamic State leader identified as a Tunisian who helped to manage its black-market sales of oil and gas to raise funds. A U.S. official said that about a dozen fighters were killed in the raid.

British-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights gathers its information from sources in the region.

The operation in the eastern Deir al-Zor province marked a departure from Washington's strategy of relying primarily on air strikes to target militants in the area. (Reuters)

1:24 P.M. Syrian official says situation in Palmyra 'under control' despite ISIS attacks

A government official in central Syria says the situation is "fully under control" in Palmyra despite breaches by Islamic State militants, who pushed into the historic town a day earlier. (AP) Read full story

12:15 P.M. Egypt executes six militants for attack on soldiers

Egypt has executed six members of a Sinai-based militant group with links to Islamic State for carrying out an attack on soldiers in 2014, the state news agency reported on Sunday.

The group, Sinai Peninsula, has killed hundreds of police and soldiers since the army toppled Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in 2013. (Reuters)

11:18 A.M. Jordan unemployment soars in areas with high refugee influx

The International Labor Organization says unemployment in areas of Jordan with high concentrations of Syrian refugees rose from 14.5 percent to 22.1 percent between 2011 and 2014.

An ILO study released Sunday looked at three districts that host three-fourths of the 628,000 refugees registered in Jordan.

The official national unemployment rate is 12.9 percent.

Close to 4 million Syrians have fled their country since the start of the conflict in 2011. Most live in neighboring countries. (AP)

10:37 A.M. Sudan inflation up to 24.3 percent in April

Sudan's inflation rate climbed to 24.3 percent in April from 23.2 percent in March, the Central Statistics Office said on Sunday, marking the second consecutive month that inflation has edged up after broadly easing since the summer.

Prices soared in Sudan after South Sudan seceded in 2011, taking with it three-quarters of the country's oil output, the main source of foreign currency used to support the Sudanese pound and to pay for food and other imports. (Reuters)

9:04 A.M. U.S. 'deeply concerned' over Morsi death sentence bid by Egyptian court

The United States is "deeply concerned" about an Egyptian court decision to seek the death penalty for former President Mohamed Morsi, a State Department official said on Sunday. (Reuters) Read full story

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