Parliament approves Islamist-allied cabinet

Libya’s embattled parliament approved an Islamist-backed government Sunday despite boycotts from non-Islamists and threats from a renegade former general who considers the legislative body illegitimate.

Lawmakers said Ahmed Maiteg’s government won majority support, with 83 out of 93 lawmakers present voting in favor.

The former general, Khalifa Hifter, has launched an armed campaign that he says is aimed at imposing stability in Libya after three years of chaos since the ouster and death of dictator Moammar Gaddafi. Hifter said he wants to curb the power of the Islamists leading the parliament.

The vote is unlikely to end the standoff between Hifter’s forces and the Islamists and allied militias that call his moves a coup.

Hifter’s campaign has won support from prominent government officials, diplomats and military units.

— Associated Press

Search on for suspect in museum attack

Belgium launched a nationwide hunt Sunday for a gunman who walked into the Jewish Museum in Brussels, unpacked a Kalashnikov rifle, killed four people with a burst of fire, packed up and walked away.

Belgian officials immediately increased anti-terrorism measures and boosted protection for Jewish sites after what was widely seen as an anti-Semitic attack. Saturday’s shooting occurred on the eve of nationwide elections in Belgium. Police detained one suspect Saturday, but he was released and is now considered a witness.

On the heels of that attack, two Jewish men were assaulted as they left a synagogue in the Paris area Saturday. One of them was severely injured after being struck in the eye with brass knuckles.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed the shooting on what he called European incitement against Israel and criticized the continent’s “weak condemnation” of anti-Semitic acts.

— Associated Press

Ex-U.S. Marine imprisoned in Iran to seek retrial: A former U.S. Marine convicted in Iran after being accused of working for the CIA will appeal for a new trial after already seeing his sentence reduced once, his attorney said. Amir Hekmati, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, was arrested in 2011, then tried, convicted and sentenced to death for spying. Iran’s Supreme Court annulled the death sentence on appeal, ordering a retrial. The country’s Revolutionary Court then overturned Hekmati’s conviction for espionage, instead charging him with “cooperating with hostile governments” and sentencing him to 10 years in prison. Hekmati will appeal the prison sentence as well, his attorney said.

Car bomb kills at least 10 in central Syria: A car bomb went off in a pro-government neighborhood in the central Syrian city of Homs, killing at least 10 people, activists and a government official said. The blast in the Zahra district, predominantly inhabited by Alawites and Christians, sent tremors through Homs, where rebels and the government have struck two cease-fire deals this month that have brought some semblance of peace to the shattered city. The provincial governor said the attack targeted such reconciliation efforts.

Flooding kills 19 in China: At least 19 people have died and seven have been reported missing in widespread flooding that has hit hundreds of thousands of people in southern China, the state news agency reported. Historic-level rains triggered floods, mudslides and the collapse of 1,143 houses, according to the Xinhua News Agency. About 21,000 people have been evacuated in the region, which has been battered by heavy rains in the past week.

China, Japan trade charges in aircraft tussle over sea: China said it scrambled jets in the East China Sea after Japanese aircraft intruded into its air defense zone and carried out “dangerous actions” during a maritime exercise with Russia. The Chinese Defense Ministry said the Japanese aircraft entered the zone despite no-fly notices issued before the exercises. China declared the zone last year in spite of protests by Japan and the United States. Japan’s Defense Ministry earlier said that Chinese fighter jets flew within a few dozen yards of its military planes over the East China Sea.

Yemeni forces kill 5 al-Qaeda militants: Yemen said it killed one of the country’s most wanted al-Qaeda militants, Saleh al-Tays, hours after military officials said anti-terrorism units supported by troops and U.S. drones launched an attack on hideouts of the group in the Arhab region, leaving five militants and six soldiers dead.

— From news services