By the CNN Political Unit
A senior Republican has released names of witnesses for a Wednesday congressional hearing on the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, including two characterized by Republicans as whistleblowers.
Rep. Darrel Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, praised the State Department officials agreeing to testify.
“They have critical information about what occurred before, during, and after the Benghazi terrorist attacks that differs on key points” from what Obama administration officials have conveyed so far, Issa said in a statement on Saturday.
“Our committee has been contacted by numerous other individuals who have direct knowledge of the Benghazi terrorist attack, but are not yet prepared to testify. In many cases their principal reticence of appearing in public is their concern of retaliation at the hands of their respective employers,” Issa said.
By Tom Watkins, CNN
[Urgent update, 8:19 p.m.]
A number of explosions on Sunday rocked the Damascus suburb of Jamraya, hitting a "scientific research center," according to Syrian state TV. The news report said Israeli rockets struck the area.
[Original story published at 3:40 p.m.]
Sectarian violence reported in Syrian city of Baniyas
Sectarian violence has erupted in northwestern Syria, where three consecutive days of killing by mostly Alawite forces have left hundreds of predominantly Sunni residents dead, opposition groups said Saturday.
"The regime attacked the town of Beyda and other neighboring areas from the sea with rockets before security forces and militias loyal to the regime entered the area and conducted mass executions," Free Syrian Army chief of staff Gen. Salim Idris said by phone from Antakya, Turkey.