Middle East Updates / Iraq Recaptures Some Grain Silos Seized by ISIS

Hezbollah reportedly repels ISIS attack on Lebanon's border with Syria; ISIS seizes power plant near Libyan city of Sirte; 11 sentenced to death over 2012 football stadium killings in Egypt.

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A Hezbollah fighter stands on a hill next to the group's yellow flag in the fields of the Syrian town of Assal al-Ward in the mountainous region of Qalamoun, Syria. May 9, 2015. Credit: AP

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Latest updates:

7:20 P.M. Iraq recaptures some grain silos seized by ISIS

Iraq has retaken control of some grain silos previously seized by Islamic State, but most of the grain held cannot be used as militants aim to destroy sites when retreating, a senior grain official said on Tuesday.

Islamic State, the breakaway Al-Qaida group, which declared an Islamic caliphate across parts of Syria and Iraq last summer, has seized fertile areas and controls territory that normally produces significant quantities of Iraq's wheat crop.

Saad al Hamdinee, general manager, Grain Board of Iraq, told Reuters the Iraqi government had taken control of grain facilities in areas including the town of al-Alam, which produced 60,000 tons, and a site in the northern Iraqi city of Samarra, which produced around 120,000 tons of grain. (Reuters)

2:50 P.M. ISIS attacks government office on western Baghdad

Three militants disguised in military uniform killed at least eight people in a local government office in Amiriyat al-Falluja in western Iraq on Tuesday, in an attack claimed by Islamic State.

One of the attackers blew himself up inside the building, but the other two were still at large, according to deputy district council chairman Falih al-Issawi, who said he could still hear gunfire.

A further 17 people were wounded in the attack, including the head of the council, Shakir al-Issawi, who leapt from the window of his office after the explosion, a police source said. In a statement, Islamic State said the three attackers had killed "dozens of apostates".

1:25 P.M. Islamic state seizes power plant near Libyan city of Sirte

Islamic State militants have seized a power plant west of the Libyan city of Sirte, the group and a military source said on Tuesday. 

"The plant ... was taken," Islamic State said in a message on social media. "Now the city of Sirte has been freed completely."

Forces loyal to the self-declared government that controls the Libyan capital Tripoli pulled out of Sirte after Islamic State attacked the plant. Three soldiers were killed in the attack, the military source said. (Reuters)

12:20 P.M 11 sentenced to death over 2012 football stadium killings in Egypt

An Egyptian court on Tuesday sentenced 11 men to death for involvement in deadly soccer stadium violence in 2012, a televised court session showed. 
One of the 11 men was sentenced in absentia. 

In April the judge had referred the sentencing of the 11 to Egypt's Grand Mufti, the country's most senior religious authority, a step towards the death penalty. (Reuters)

12:05 P.M. Hezbollah reportedly repels ISIS attack on Lebanon's border with Syria

The TV station of Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group says they have repelled an attack by Islamic State group fighters in an area on the Lebanon-Syria border. Al-Manar TV says Tuesday's attack left several IS fighters dead or wounded and three vehicles, including a bulldozer, destroyed.

Hezbollah has been on the offensive in Syria's Qalamoun mountains for weeks and has captured territory from Al-Qaida's branch in Syria, the Nusra Front.

Al-Manar said the IS attack targeted several Hezbollah positions outside the Lebanese border village of Ras Baalbek. (AP)

12:00 P.M. Syrian rebels claim attack on army base in south

Syrian insurgent groups attacked a major Syrian army base in the south of the country on Tuesday, rebels said, seeking to increase the pressure on President Bashar Assad after his recent losses elsewhere in the country.

"It is very important because it is the second biggest base the regime has (in the south)," Saber Safar, a former Syrian army colonel who defected and leads the "First Army" insurgent alliance, said via Skype.

Syrian state TV said the army had repelled an attempt by "a terrorist group" to infiltrate a military position in the area to the northeast of the city of Deraa in the border region near Jordan. (Reuters)

10:45 A.M. Turkey recalls Brazil ambassador over Armenian genocide dispute

Turkey's Foreign Ministry says the ambassador to Brazil has been recalled after that country's senate passed a resolution recognizing the massacres of Armenians a century ago as genocide.

The ministry said late Monday that Ambassador Huseyin Dirioz was returning to Ankara for consultations over what it termed Brazil's "distortion" of history.

Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I, an event widely viewed by scholars as the first genocide of the 20th century.

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