World briefs (6/8/13)

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U.S. drones kill 7 militants

PESHAWAR , Pakistan -- A suspected U.S. drone strike killed seven militants in Pakistan near the Afghan border on Friday, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

The missiles struck a compound in Mangrothi village in the Shawal area, along the border dividing the North and South Waziristan tribal regions, the two officials said.

Many Pakistanis oppose U.S. drone strikes because they say the strikes kill large numbers of innocent civilians -- something the U.S. denies -- and end up breeding more extremism by those seeking retribution.

The country's new prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, who was sworn in on Wednesday, has lashed out against the U.S. drone program.

Israel to build Golan barrier

MOUNT HAZEKA, Israel -- Fearful that the Syrian civil war, jihadist terrorists or Lebanese Hezbollah fighters will spill into Israel, the country's military engineers are rushing to complete their latest "smart fence," this one in the occupied Golan Heights.

Here along the tense boundary with Syria, fighting raged Thursday as Syrian rebels and government forces battled for control of a crossing in the latest violent incident that is inching the Syrian war closer to Israeli-held territory.

As the threat of spillover mounts, Israel is replacing an old, broken-down fence -- so low that a goat could hop over it -- with an intimidating steel barricade. The 45- mile fortification features concertina and razor wire, touch sensors, motion detectors, infrared cameras and ground radar.

IMF approves Tunisia loan

WASHINGTON -- The International Monetary Fund has approved a $1.74 billion loan for Tunisia to ease the country's economic strains more than two years after the revolution that toppled the former regime.

The IMF says the 2-year loan, announced Friday, will support an economic reform program in the country and help promote growth. The decision allows for an immediate payout of $150 million.

The IMF says Tunisia had embarked on a moderate economic recovery, but is grappling with a fragile banking sector, pressing social demands, widespread regional disparities, high unemployment and widening deficits.

Turkey PM faults protesters

ISTANBUL -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned violent methods used by protesters over the past week, while saying his government is ready to listen to their demands when expressed democratically.

"We're opposed to violence, terror, vandalism," Mr. Erdogan said at a conference on Turkey's European Union membership bid Friday. "For those who come to me with democratic demands, I'll sacrifice my life."

The conference venue, a hotel in central Istanbul, was ringed with a cordon of police. It's within walking distance of Taksim Square, where thousands of anti-Erdogan protesters have gathered every day for the past week, erecting barricades around it to block traffic.

The rallies spread nationwide after police used tear gas and water cannons on May 31 against demonstrators.

Philip undergoes surgery

LONDON -- Britain's Prince Philip is progressing "satisfactorily" after undergoing exploratory abdominal surgery, Buckingham Palace said Friday.

Philip, 91, was admitted to the hospital on Thursday for the pre-planned procedure. He is expected to stay there for up to two weeks.

The palace said Friday the operation has taken place and that the results will now be analyzed.

-- Compiled from news services

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