BEIRUT

Israeli air attack in Syria could mean further strikes

An Israeli air attack in Syria this week may be a sign of things to come.

Israeli military officials appear to have concluded that the risks of attacking Syria are worth taking when compared to the dangers of allowing sophisticated weapons to reach Hezbollah guerrillas in neighboring Lebanon.

With Syrian President Bashar Assad’s grip on power weakening, Israeli officials fear he could soon lose control over his substantial arsenal of chemical and advanced weapons, which could slip into the hands of Hezbollah or other hostile groups. These concerns, combined with Hezbollah’s own domestic problems, mean further military action could be likely.

Israeli officials would not confirm Israeli involvement in the airstrike.

CAIRO

Riot police continue to fight protesters for seventh day

Riot police continued Thursday to battle rock-throwing protesters in an area near Tahrir Square in central Cairo, the seventh day of clashes in the wave of political violence that has engulfed Egypt.

Egyptian police have been accused of firing wildly at protesters, beating them and lashing out with deadly force in clashes across much of the country the past week, regaining their Hosni Mubarak-era notoriety as a tool of repression.

In the process, nearly 60 people have been killed and hundreds injured, and the security forces have re-emerged as a significant political player after spending the two years since Mubarak’s ouster on the sidelines.

President Mohammed Morsi has made it clear that he needs the police on his side to protect his still shaky grip on power.

WASHINGTON

N.J. senator’s office says donor reimbursed for trips

Sen. Robert Menendez’s office says he reimbursed a prominent Florida political donor $58,500 on Jan. 4 for the full cost of two of three trips Menendez took on the donor’s plane to the Dominican Republic in 2010.

More details about the New Jersey senator’s trips emerged as his office said unsubstantiated allegations that the senator engaged in sex with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic are false. There had been no public disclosure of the two trips until now.

“The senator paid for the two trips out of his personal account and no reporting requirements apply,” Menendez spokeswoman Tricia Enright said Wednesday night.

The FBI searched the West Palm Beach, Fla., office of the donor Tuesday night, but it was unclear if the raid was related to Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat.

ADAIRSVILLE, Ga.

Violent storm system leaves at least three people dead

A violent storm system that spawned deadly tornadoes in the South delivered torrential rain and dangerous winds to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, leaving at least three people dead and tens of thousands without electricity as swollen rivers threatened flooding.

In the Georgia city of Adairsville, many homes were splintered by the massive storm front as it punched across the Southeast on Wednesday.

– From news service reports