LEBANON
Hezbollah leader: We won't give up rockets

The head of Hezbollah says threats or sanctions won’t compel the militant group to give up its rocket capability, urging Lebanon’s government to contend with the diplomatic pressure it faces.

Hasan Nasrallah said succumbing to that pressure would allow Israel to attack Lebanon at will. Nasrallah spoke to supporters in Beirut’s southern district via video link on “Martyrs’ Day,” commemorating the group’s fighters in combat.

Israel and Hezbollah fought a devastating month-long war in 2006, which ended in a stalemate. Since then, Hezbollah has amassed an arsenal that is believed to include well over 100,000 missiles and rockets, which Israel considers an existential threat.

— Associated Press

SYRIA
Government protests airstrike tied to U.S.

The Syrian government has protested to the United Nations about an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State forces, which it says killed 26 civilians in Hajin in the eastern Deir al-Zour region, state media reported Saturday.

The coalition is supporting the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in an attempt to defeat the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, in the area it controls near the border with Iraq.

Asked about reports of airstrikes on Friday, the coalition’s spokesman said it had “successfully struck and destroyed an ISIS observation post and staging area in Hajin, void of civilians at the time.”

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, however, said 41 people, including 17 children, had been killed in two waves of coalition airstrikes in Hajin and the nearby village of al-Shafa. It said the casualties were mostly Iraqis and family members of Islamic State fighters.

— Reuters

Death toll from Somali bombing tops 50: Somali officials say the death toll from Friday's bombings outside a hotel in the capital, Mogadishu, has risen to 53 with more than 100 injured. Capt. Mohamed Hussein, a senior Somali police officer, said many of the injured suffered horrific wounds, raising fears that the toll could rise further. Somalia's Islamist extremist rebel group, al-Shabab, claimed responsibility for the Friday afternoon attack. After the three explosions in front of the hotel, a fourth blast hit as medics attempted to rescue the injured.

Australian attacker inspired by ISIS, police say: An Australian man who set fire to a truck laden with gas cylinders in the center of Melbourne and fatally stabbed one person Friday was inspired by the Islamic State but did not have direct links to the group, police said Saturday. Police identified the suspect as Somali-born Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, 30, and said he was radicalized and inspired by the militant group's propaganda. He was shot by police and died at a hospital. Police said that Shire Ali's Australian passport was canceled in 2015, after an intelligence report that he planned to travel to Syria, but that an assessment was made that despite his radical views, he posed no threat to national security.

Ugandan pop star charged with treason holds concert: Ugandan pop star and opposition politician Bobi Wine staged his first concert since being charged with treason for his alleged role in a stone attack on the president's convoy. Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, performed at a private beach outside the capital, Kampala, after he was denied permission to hold the event at the national stadium. He has been relatively quiet since returning from the United States, where he sought specialist care for injuries he sustained during alleged torture by state agents in August. The singer is challenging longtime President Yoweri Museveni by speaking directly to Uganda's disenchanted youth.

— From news services