World briefs: Rebel infighting rages in Syria

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BEIRUT -- With nearly 500 people reported killed in a week of rebel infighting, many Syrians barricaded themselves in their homes Friday, while others emerged from mosques angrily accusing an al-Qaida-linked group of hijacking their revolution.

The rebel-on-rebel clashes have overshadowed the battle against President Bashar Assad and underscore the perils for civilians caught in the crossfire of two parallel wars.

The violence, which pits fighters from a variety of Islamic groups and mainstream factions against the feared al-Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, have spread across four provinces in opposition-held parts of northern Syria.

S. Sudan retakes oil town

JUBA, South Sudan -- South Sudanese troops on Friday retook the capital of an oil-producing state from rebels loyal to the country's former vice president, a military spokesman said.

Government troops retook Bentiu, the capital of Unity state, after a 2 ½-hour battle, Col. Philip Aguer said.

The loss of Bentiu weakens the former vice president, Riek Machar, at the negotiating table in Ethiopia, where mediators are trying to defuse a political conflict that broke out Dec. 15 and descended into ethnic attacks and military battles.

30 militants killed

NAIROBI, Kenya -- The Kenyan military says it has killed at least 30 Islamic militants Thursday in an airstrike on a militant camp in at Garbarahey in the Gedo region of Somalia.

A military spokesman said Friday on his Twitter account that al-Shabab leader Ahmed Godane was among the targets but was not killed. Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the Sept. 21 Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi in which 67 were killed by gunmen. Kenya sent troops into Somalia to fight al-Shabab militants in 2011 following cross-border attacks blamed on the militant group.

Japan eyes gas reserves

TOKYO -- Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may seek to secure natural gas supplies from Mozambique during a three-nation African tour this weekend, the first visit to the continent by a Japanese leader in almost eight years.

Japan, the world's biggest importer of liquefied natural gas, has been seeking new energy sources after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The world's third-largest economy has been without nuclear power, which accounts for about a quarter of its energy needs, since September as all of the country's 50 reactors have been shut pending safety reviews.

China punishes oil refiner

BEIJING -- Chinese authorities are holding China's largest oil refiner and its top management responsible for a November pipeline explosion that killed 62 people and injured scores of others in the eastern port city of Qingdao.

The State Council, China's Cabinet, decided Friday that an administrative demerit should be recorded against Fu Chengyu, chief of state oil company Sinopec, which operated the pipeline. Mr. Fu is one of the most prominent figures in China's oil industry.

Article angers Hollande

PARIS -- French President Francois Hollande threatened legal action Friday over a magazine report saying he is having a secret affair with an actress.

The magazine Closer published images Friday showing a bodyguard and a helmeted man it says is Mr. Hollande, 59, visiting the apartment of Julie Gayet, 41, a French actress.

-- Compiled from news services


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