By Patrick Temple-West WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A brief congressional hearing ended in shouting and confusion on Wednesday after a former U.S. Internal Revenue Service official refused to answer questions about a 10-month-old controversy involving IRS scrutiny of conservative political groups. Lois Lerner, who was at the center of last year's so-called Tea Party targeting scandal, declined to answer questions from Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Issa, who has relentlessly pursued the tax agency over the controversy for months, dismissed Lerner and gaveled the hearing to a close after just 15 minutes, cutting off remarks by Representative Elijah Cummings, the panel's top Democrat. That was days after she issued a public apology, in answer to a planted question from the audience at a legal conference, in which she said the IRS had done "inappropriate" targeting of political groups with the words "Tea Party" in their names.
Syrian military helicopters launched multiple raids on areas inside Lebanon near the border town of Arsal on Wednesday, witnesses and Lebanon's official news agency said. On Wednesday morning, helicopters carried out raids in the largely unpopulated mountainous areas on the outskirts of Arsal near the border with Syria, witnesses told AFP. It was unclear if there were any casualties in the attacks, which Lebanon's National News Agency said hit the areas of Khirbet Yunin and Wadi Ajram. Later on Wednesday afternoon, NNA reported additional raids around Arsal, which it said had caused injuries, but gave no details.