Israel targets Hamas sites after Gaza rocket attack

This file image shows a smoke trail as a rocket is launched from the northern Gaza Strip. (Reuters/Nir Elias)
Updated 02 January 2018
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Israel targets Hamas sites after Gaza rocket attack

Gaza City, Palestinian Territories: Israeli aircraft attacked Hamas bases in Gaza early Tuesday in response to a rocket from the Palestinian enclave targeting southern Israel hours before, concurring sources said.
The aircraft targeted a “military compound belonging to the terrorist organization Hamas,” a statement from the army read.
Palestinian security sources said the strikes were in Khan Younes in the south and Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza, causing damage but no casualties.
On Monday night, a rocket hit a town in southern Israel, causing however no damage or casualties.
Palestinian militants in Gaza have fired 18 rockets or mortar rounds at Israel in violence that erupted after US President Donald Trump’s controversial December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, six of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system.
The projectiles are often fired by fringe Islamist groups, but Israel holds Gaza’s militant rulers Hamas responsible for any attacks from the territory and retaliates by targeting Hamas positions.
“The IDF holds Hamas solely accountable for events in the Gaza Strip,” the Tuesday army statement read.


Iran’s Hassan Rouhani may skip UN meet over US visa delay

Updated 49 min 30 sec ago

Iran’s Hassan Rouhani may skip UN meet over US visa delay

TEHRAN: Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and his delegation could be forced into skipping next week’s UN General Assembly because the United States has yet to issue them visas, state media said Wednesday.
Rouhani and his delegation had been scheduled to travel to New York for the annual UN gathering on Monday, but that was now looking unlikely given the lack of visas, state news agency IRNA said.
“If the visas aren’t issued in a few hours, this trip will probably be canceled,” IRNA reported.
The delegation includes Iran’s top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif, who the United States imposed sanctions against on July 31.
The foreign minister had been due to travel to New York on Friday morning, according to IRNA.
The absence of Rouhani would ruin France’s bid to arrange a meeting between him and US President Donald Trump as part of European efforts to de-escalate tensions between the arch-foes.
“Iran’s absence will show that in contrast with its commitments to the United Nations and international organizations within the framework of agreements, diplomacy has no value for the United States,” IRNA said.
“Although the Islamic Republic of Iran has not left the scene and it continues its active diplomacy, the US government must answer for its behavior,” it added.
The UN General Assembly debate is due to begin on Tuesday.
As the host government, the United States generally is obliged to issue visas to diplomats who serve at UN headquarters.
But Iran and the United States have been at loggerheads since May last year when Trump abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal and began reimposing sanctions in its campaign of “maximum pressure.”
Iran responded by scaling back its commitments under the landmark accord, which gave it the promise of sanctions relief in return for limiting the scope of its nuclear program.