Israelis say rocket fired at Jerusalem
JERUSALEM, Nov. 16 (UPI) — Rocket fire from Gaza to Israel increased Friday and one of the missiles struck near Jerusalem, the first air attack on the city in 42 years, officials said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties in the Jerusalem area but Ashdod, Israel’s largest port, had come under heavy attack, the military said.
One woman was slightly injured and several people suffered from shock, Haaretz reported.
At least 20 Palestinians and three Israelis have died since Israel began its offensive in against militants in Gaza Wednesday.
The missile near Jerusalem and two that landed near Tel Aviv Thursday shocked many Israelis because Jerusalem had not experienced an air attack since 1970 and Tel Aviv since 1991, officials said.
The Israeli military was preparing for the possibility of using ground forces against militants in Gaza, Haaretz reported.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on the BBC, "Israel does have to bear in mind that it is when ground invasions have taken place in previous conflicts that they have lost international support and a great deal of sympathy around the world."
Since Wednesday, 550 rockets had been fired toward Israel and 26 went off in developed areas, Israeli officials said. By noon Friday, the Iron Dome missile defense system had intercepted 109 rockets, they said.
Petraeus testifies to House intel panel
WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 (UPI) — Former CIA chief David Petraeus told a House panel it wasn’t clear why White House and CIA talking points on the consulate attack didn’t align, one member said.
House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told reporters Petraeus said during the closed-door hearing Friday that after the CIA prepared its talking points, they were reviewed by other departments, but "no one knows yet exactly who came up with the final talking points," CBS News reported.
Petraeus was clear with Congress from the start that the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was a terrorist attack, King said.
Ambassador Christopher Stephens and three other diplomatic employees were killed in the Sept. 11 attack.
"The original talking points prepared by the CIA were different than the final ones put out," King said, noting they were "much more specific on al-Qaida involvement."
The talking points are a source of controversy because U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice used them to describe the nature of the attack on Sunday talk shows Sept. 16. Republicans have attacked Rice for suggesting the attack was the result of spontaneous protests.
Leaders say fiscal cliff talks good start
WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 (UPI) — U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said Friday "revenue is on the table" if it is part of a balanced approach to avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff.
Republican and Democratic congressional leaders said talks with President Barack Obama at the White House were a good first step on averting scheduled spending cuts and tax hikes.
Boehner, R-Ohio, said he outlined a framework that addresses reforming the tax code and reforming spending.
"I believe that the framework that I outlined our meeting today is consistent with the president’s call for a fair and balanced approach," Boehner said. "To show our seriousness we put revenue on the table as long as it’s accompanied by significant spending cuts."
While revenue would remain on the table, Boehner said it would be "incumbent on my colleagues to show the American people that we’re serious about cutting spending and solving our fiscal dilemma. I believe we can do this and avert the fiscal cliff that is right in front of us today."
2 missing, 11 hospitalized in oil rig fire
GRAND ISLE, La., Nov. 16 (UPI) — Two workers were missing after a fire on an oil production platform in the Gulf of Mexico near the Louisiana coast, authorities said.
U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Ed Cubanski said 22 company employees were on the rig when the fire began. He said a pipe — 3 inches in diameter, 7 feet long and containing about 28 gallons of oil — apparently ignited while being cut with a torch. He said 11 people were transported to four area hospitals and nine were evacuated uninjured.
Authorities reported earlier that two people had been killed, but at a noon press conference in New Orleans the Coast Guard said there were no confirmed deaths.
The fire began Friday morning, said Kirk Trascher, spokesman for the oil rig’s owner, Black Elk Energy of Houston.
The platform is considered non-producing, meaning it is not currently pumping oil, and the incident will likely not devolve into a major oil spill, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Friday.
The Coast Guard said the rig is in shallow water in West Delta Block 32 of the Gulf of Mexico, about 25 miles southeast of Grand Isle, La.
Workers were performing "shutdown platform work" when the fire began, the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness said.
Roadside bomb in Afghanistan kills 17
KABUL, Afghanistan, Nov. 16 (UPI) — Seventeen Afghan civilians on their way to a wedding party died when their bus struck a roadside bomb in western Afghanistan, the provincial governor said.
The provincial security chief accused local Taliban of planting the bomb and said the dead included women and children.
Fourteen others on the bus were injured, the Afghan news agency Khaama Press reported Friday.
Taliban militants attacked a checkpoint in northeastern Afghanistan Thursday, killing at least four police officers and injuring two others, police said.
The strike by the Taliban is the latest in a series of attacks in the Wardaj district of Badakhshan province, Khaama Press said.
Badakhshan provincial security chief Ghulam Sakhi Haidari denied a Taliban statement that said nine police officers were killed and the attackers had taken control of the checkpoint. He said the checkpoint remained in the hands of Afghan security forces.
In earlier attacks, at least eight Afghan police officers were killed in a Taliban ambush in the Kohi-e-Ghanio area of the district, and four of 16 kidnapped police officers were killed in the Bashin area, the Khaama Press report said.