Israeli jets bomb military target in Syria Russia scraps U.S. anti-crime deal South Korea launches rocket China calls smog emergency
BEIRUT -- Israel's air force launched a rare airstrike on a military site inside Syria, the Syrian government and U.S. and regional security officials said Wednesday, adding to regional tensions already heightened by Syria's civil war.
A Syrian army statement said it destroyed a military research center northwest of the capital Damascus.
The strike, which occurred overnight Tuesday, appeared to be the latest salvo in Israel's long-running effort to disrupt the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah's quest to build an arsenal capable of defending against Israel's air force.
Regional security officials said Israel had been planning in recent days to hit a Syrian shipment of weapons bound for Hezbollah, which is neighboring Lebanon's most powerful military force and committed to Israel's destruction. They said the shipment included sophisticated Russian-made SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles whose acquisition by Hezbollah would be "game-changing" by allowing it to blunt Israel's air power.
The Israeli military and a Hezbollah spokesman both declined to comment. U.S. officials confirmed the strike, saying it hit a convoy of trucks, but gave no further information.
MOSCOW -- Russia pulled out of an anti-crime accord with the United States on Wednesday, the latest sign of rising tensions between Moscow and Washington.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed an order to scrap the 10-year-old agreement "because it was no longer relevant," his office said. The agreement covered fighting terrorism, corruption and cross-border crimes such as drug smuggling and human trafficking.
Alexei Pushkov, head of Russia's parliamentary foreign affairs committee, said the decision reflected Russia's ability to manage its affairs without outside help. "Russia is changing the format of its relations with the U.S.," he tweeted. "We are ending our dependence on 'the country No. 1.' "
The Foreign Ministry expressed gratitude to the U.S. for providing $12 million in aid for crime-fighting projects under the accord, but said Moscow no longer needs such assistance.
SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea launched a satellite into space from its own soil for the first time Wednesday amid increased tensions after archrival North Korea accomplished a similar feat and was condemned by the United Nations.
The South Korean rocket blasted off from a launch pad in the southwestern coastal village of Goheung. Science officials told cheering spectators minutes later that the rocket delivered an observational satellite into orbit. Officials expected to know today whether the satellite is operating as intended.
North Korea's long-range rocket program has generated international fears that it is getting closer to developing nuclear missiles capable of striking the U.S.
BEIJING -- The Beijing government put in place emergency measures Wednesday to try to combat thick smog that has encased the city in brown and gray soot. The measures include temporarily shutting down more than 100 factories and ordering one-third of government vehicles off the streets, according to official news reports.