TRIPOLI, Libya -- A former Libyan militia commander on Wednesday denied charges filed in U.S. federal court accusing him of being involved in an attack that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
Ahmed Abu Khattala said that he was not in hiding, nor had he been questioned by Libyan authorities over the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
That assault killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and sparked Republican-led investigations in Congress over the attack and its aftermath.
Officials in the U.S. say he and an unspecified number of others are named in a sealed complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Washington. It's unclear what charges he and the others face. Libya's Justice Ministry declined to comment Wednesday when asked about the U.S. charges.
Syria kills 60 rebels
BEIRUT -- The Syrian army attacked a large group of anti-government insurgents near the capital, Damascus, on Wednesday, killing more than 60, according to monitors and state media.
SANA, the state news agency, also reported that 18 civilians, including children, died when a car bomb exploded at a busy intersection in Jaramana on the eastern approaches to Damascus.
The rebels killed near Damascus belonged to the Nusra Front, SANA said.
Israel slams Iran's leader
JERUSALEM -- Alarmed by the prospects of renewed U.S.-Iran negotiations and suggestions that the new Islamic leadership might chart a more moderate path, Israel is ramping up its threat to take unilateral military action against Iran's nuclear program.
On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran has continued to develop its nuclear program, even after the election of Hasan Rouhani, whom he has labeled a "wolf in sheep's clothing."
Japan to aid nuke operator
TOKYO -- The Japanese prime minister directed his government Wednesday to step in to help stabilize the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, after continuing radiation leaks exposed the failure of the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., to contain the problem since the 2011 triple meltdown.
A government official said Wednesday that some 300 tons, or about 75,000 gallons, of contaminated groundwater is now believed to be flowing daily into the manmade harbor at the Fukushima plant.
Japan's defense buildup
BEIJING -- China said Asian neighbors must be alert to Japan's defense buildup after it unveiled a vessel capable of carrying 14 helicopters, the largest Japanese military ship produced since World War II.
"Japan should reflect on its history, adhere to self- defense and respect its promise to follow the road of peaceful development," China's Defense Ministry said Wednesday, referring to the pacifist constitution Japan adopted after losing the war.
Tuesday's unveiling of the 19,500-ton Izumo reflects Japan's push to bolster its maritime forces as it faces off with China over East China Sea islands that both claim.
China issues record fines
BEIJING -- The Chinese government Wednesday fined baby formula manufacturers what it said was a record $108 million.
The government said the firms had artificially inflated the price of formula, taking advantage of the panic among Chinese parents over tainted milk products.
-- Compiled from news services