WASHINGTON -- Seven months after the attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya, the Obama administration on Wednesday insisted that it was making progress in holding accountable those responsible for killing Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
Testifying before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. has identified people who it believes were involved in the Benghazi attack. FBI investigators are still combing through video and other evidence gathered from largely lawless eastern Libya, he said.
Mr. Kerry, however, didn't say if any suspect has yet been arrested, detained or otherwise targeted by American or Libyan authorities.
Having just returned from a 10-day trip to the Middle East, Europe and East Asia, Mr. Kerry also briefed lawmakers on his efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace hopes and de-escalate tensions with nuclear-armed North Korea.
21 executed for terror
BAGHDAD -- Iraq has executed 21 prisoners convicted on terrorism charges and links to al-Qaida, the Justice Ministry said Wednesday, setting off fresh criticism from human rights expert Erin Evers over Baghdad's insistence on enforcing capital punishment.
The prisoners were executed by hanging Tuesday in the Iraqi capital, according to a statement posted on the ministry's website. All the convicts were Iraqi al-Qaida operatives who were involved in bombings, car bomb attacks and assassinations, the statement said.
Rockets fired from Egypt
JERUSALEM -- Two rockets fired from the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula struck the southern Israeli resort of Eilat on Wednesday, causing no damage or injuries, according to the Israeli military.
The first such attack on that city in a year, it underscored the continuing threat from militants operating across the desert border. However, rather than serving as a new source of tension between Israel and Egypt under President Mohammed Morsi, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Israeli officials spoke of close cooperation between the two countries over what they viewed as a joint interest.
No recount declared
CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuela's opposition watched its options dwindle Wednesday after the head of the Supreme Court said there could be no recount of the razor-thin presidential election victory by Hugo Chavez's heir, leaving many government foes feeling the only chance at power is to wait for the ruling socialists to stumble.
Opposition activists and independent observers called the judge's declaration blatant and legally unfounded favoritism from a purportedly independent body that is packed with confederates of President-elect Nicolas Maduro, Chavez's hand-picked successor.
Unions reject pay cuts
DUBLIN -- Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny suffered his biggest setback since taking power two years ago Wednesday, as unions rejected his plans to cut pay for state employees.
The nation's most powerful labor group, SIPTU, Tuesday rejected government proposals to reduce salaries for some of the best-paid public workers by at least 5.5 percent. A wider vote of the union movement confirmed the rejection of the proposals in Dublin on Wednesday, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions said, adding it would resist any unilateral imposition of pay cuts.