Israel strikes Hamas’ tunnels in Gaza in response to attack

JERUSALEM (Xinhua): Israel struck on Tuesday Hamas’ tunnels in Gaza, saying the attack was a response to the earlier launch of explosive balloons from the Palestinian enclave. In the overnight attack, Tanks, warplanes and others targeted military posts and an underground infrastructure belonging to Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip, a military spokesperson said in a statement. “The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) remains ready to operate decisively against any attempted terror activity aimed at Israeli civilians or any violation of Israeli sovereignty,” the statement read. The Hebrew-language Ha’aretz newspaper reported that a Qatari envoy was expected to arrive in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday to arrange the transfer of much-needed financing to the besieged enclave. Tensions have been spiralling over the past days as militant groups in the Gaza Strip fired balloons attached with incendiary and explosive materials into southern Israel. Israel has carried out almost daily airstrikes and used artillery against Hamas’ sites for the past two weeks. It also closed the fishing zone around Gaza and the main cargo crossing of the Palestinian enclave. Hamas, ruler of Gaza, demands Israel ease the blockade it has imposed since the movement seized power in Gaza in 2007.

Iran hails ‘constructive’ talks with visiting IAEA chief

Tehran (Agencies): Iran’s nuclear body said it held “constructive” talks on Tuesday with the visiting head of the International Atomic Energy Agency amid tensions over a US bid to reimpose UN sanctions. “Today’s talks were constructive,” the head of Iran’s atomic agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, said after meeting IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi. “It was decided that the agency continue its work professionally and independently and Iran, too, act in the framework of its commitments,” he said, quoted by state news agency IRNA.