Receive Breaking News updates as they occur
A Tuareg-dominated rebel coalition said on Saturday it was holding prisoner 19 Malian government soldiers captured in fighting a day earlier, amid growing violence in the north that threatens to derail U.N.-brokered peace efforts. Army sources confirmed that soldiers were missing following clashes late on Friday that saw the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA) briefly seize the small town of Tessit, in Mali's northern Gao region. A spokesman for the CMA said its fighters had withdrawn from Tessit by Saturday morning, taking with them captured weapons, ammunition and the prisoners.
BAGHDAD/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Shi'ite Muslim militiamen and Iraqi army forces launched a counter-offensive against Islamic State insurgents near Ramadi on Saturday, a militia spokesman said, aiming to reverse potentially devastating gains by the jihadi militants. The fall of Ramadi, the Anbar provincial capital, to Islamic State on May 17 could be a shattering blow to Baghdad's weak central government. The Sunni Muslim jihadis now control most of Anbar and could threaten the western approaches to Baghdad, or even surge south into Iraq's Shi’ite heartland.