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HomeNewsExplosions in Iran after possible Israeli strike: What we know so far

Explosions in Iran after possible Israeli strike: What we know so far

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Explosions were reported in Isfahan, a central province of Iran, on Friday amid claims by US media that Israeli forces had launched retaliatory strikes. Following these reports, Iranian state media said that air defence systems had been activated across several cities.

The official Iranian broadcaster stated that the noises heard were around the Isfahan area. Israel had indicated its intent to respond after Iran launched a missile and drone assault on Israeli territory nearly a week ago, which was itself a retaliation for a strike that destroyed Iran’s consular annex in Syria—a strike Tehran attributes to Israel.

As concerns of a wider regional conflict grow, there has yet to be an official response from either Israeli or Iranian authorities regarding the overnight strikes. The extent of damage, if any, is still not detailed.

Contradicting international media reports, Iran’s Tasnim news agency cited “informed sources” to deny any foreign attack on Isfahan or other regions of Iran. “There are no reports of an attack from abroad on Iran’s central city of Isfahan or any other part of the country,” Tasnim stated.

The New York Times, quoting Iranian officials, reported that the assault was likely conducted with small drones, possibly launched from within Iran itself, as there were no radar detections of foreign aircraft entering Iranian airspace.

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Fars news agency reported three explosions near the vicinity of Qahjavarestan, close to Isfahan airport and the 8th Shekari army airbase. Meanwhile, Hossein Dalirian, a spokesperson for Iran’s space agency, confirmed on the social media platform X that several drones had been “successfully shot down,” and reported that there was no missile attack.

The official IRNA news agency added that there was no significant damage or large-scale explosions resulting from any aerial threats.

Brigadier General Siavash Mihandoost, the senior military officer in Isfahan, told state television that the loud sounds were due to defense systems engaging a target in the air, not an explosion on the ground. He reassured that all nuclear facilities in Isfahan were secure, a statement supported by the UN’s atomic watchdog, which also confirmed that there was no damage to Iran’s nuclear sites.

US media have reported that Washington had prior knowledge of the supposed Israeli strike but did not support or participate in the operation. US President Joe Biden has expressed strong support for Israel but urged careful consideration to prevent a larger conflict.

NBC and CNN, referencing sources familiar with the matter and a US official, respectively, revealed that Israel had informed the US before the strike, and that the targets were not nuclear facilities.

There has been no immediate response from either the White House or the Pentagon to these reports. When asked for comment, the Israeli military said, “We don’t have a comment at this time.”

The backdrop of these events includes a recent direct attack by Iran on Israel on April 13, which followed an Israeli strike on April 1 that killed seven members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards at its consulate in Damascus. Iran has been a key supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, as well as the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

In response to the ongoing conflict, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has emphasised Israel’s right to defend itself. Following the Iranian missile and drone attacks, the US unveiled sanctions targeting those involved in manufacturing the drones used in the Iranian operations.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned that Iran would make Israel “regret” any new attacks, indicating the ongoing severe tensions between the two nations. The Middle East remains a highly volatile region, with recent incidents potentially escalating into a more significant conflict.

(AFP)

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