AMMAN, Jordan (AP) -- Gunmen carried out a series of attacks in central Jordan on Sunday, including at a Crusader castle popular with tourists, killing four members of the Jordanian security forces and a woman visiting from Canada, officials said.
The shootings were the latest in a series of attacks that have challenged the pro-Western kingdom's claim to be an oasis of calm in a region threatened by Islamic extremists.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks in and near the town of Karak.
The chain of events began when a police patrol received reports of a house fire in the town of Qatraneh in the Karak district, said a statement by Jordan's Public Security Directorate.
The officers responding to the call came under fire from inside the house, the statement said. Two policemen were wounded and the assailants fled in a car, it said.
In another attack, gunmen fired on a security patrol in Karak, causing no injuries, the statement said.
Armed men also opened fire on a police station in Karak Castle, a Crusader fort, wounding members of the security forces. The statement said five or six gunmen were believed to be holed up inside the castle.
Their fate was not immediately known, and it was not clear if the standoff was still going on after nightfall Sunday. Local news websites said in unconfirmed reports that hostages had been taken.
In all, four members of the security forces and a female tourist from Canada were killed in the shootings, though it was not clear if all five were killed at the castle.
Jordan faces homegrown extremism, with hundreds of Jordanians fighting alongside other Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria and several thousand more supporting the extremist group in the kingdom. Jordan is a key U.S. ally, and a member of a U.S.-led military coalition fighting IS.
Over the past year, gunmen have carried out several attacks on members of the Jordanian security forces and foreign trainers. Earlier this year, Jordanian security forces engaged in a deadly shootout with suspected IS sympathizers in a northern Jordanian town.
In the most recent incident, three U.S. military members were killed in a shooting outside an air base in southern Jordan in November. The three were in Jordan on a training mission, and came under fire while driving into the base.