World briefing

Japan moves defense system

TOKYO (AP) — Japan today moved a mobile missile-defense system on the northern island of Hokkaido to a base near recent North Korean missile flyover routes.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 interceptor unit was deployed at the Hakodate base on southern Hokkaido “as a precaution” as part of government preparations for a possible emergency.

The relocation came after a North Korean missile was test-fired last week and flew over southern Hokkaido and landed in the Pacific off the island’s east coast — the second flyover in less than a month.


al-Qaida group fights Syrians

BEIRUT (AP) — A Syrian monitoring group says insurgents led by an al-Qaida-linked group have launched a wide offensive against pro-government troops south of their stronghold in the western province of Idlib.

The Syrian government-affiliated Central Military Media outlet says troops and allied militias have pushed back against the offensive, which started today in northeastern rural Hama province, on the border with Idlib, killing a number of insurgents.

Rami Abdurrahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says airstrikes pummeled the area of the fighting.