Israel was behind drone attacks at military plant in Iran, US media report

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According to US media reports, US officials believe Israel carried out drone attacks on a military plant in Iran’s central city of Isfahan.

On Sunday, Tehran announced that drones had attacked the Isfahan plant late the previous evening, calling the operation “unsuccessful.”

According to US officials and people familiar with the operation, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported that Israel was behind the attacks. The New York Times cited senior intelligence officials familiar with the incident’s discussion between Israel and the United States. The officials were not identified.

CNN has not independently confirmed this claim. According to a US Department of Defense spokesperson, the US has not conducted any strikes or operations inside Iran.

“We’ve seen the press reports, but can confirm that no US military forces have conducted strikes or operations inside Iran. “We are continuing to monitor the situation but have nothing further to say,” said the spokesperson.

The Iranian Defense Ministry has not made any public statements about who carried out the attack. The Israel Defense Forces did not respond.

“An explosion has occurred in one of the military centers affiliated with the Ministry of Defense,” Isfahan governorate deputy head of security Mohammad Reza Jan-Nesari previously told the semi-official Fars News Agency.

According to Jan-Nesari, the explosion caused some damage but “fortunately there were no casualties.”

The explosion, according to the state news agency IRNA, was caused by “small drones.”

“There was an unsuccessful attack by small drones against a defense ministry industrial complex, and fortunately, with predictions and air defense arrangements already in place, one of them (struck),” the country’s defense ministry said in a tweet.

“The complex’s air defense system was able to destroy two other drones. Fortunately, no one was killed in this failed attack, and only minor damage was done to the complex’s roof.”

The attack occurred at 10:30 p.m. local time Saturday, according to the ministry. The plant is located approximately 440 kilometers (270 miles) south of Tehran.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, attends a joint meeting of the European Parliament Foreign Relations Committee and the Security and Defense Committee on January 24, 2023 in Brussels, Belgium.

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Several explosions and suspicious fires have occurred in recent years near Iranian military and nuclear facilities.

In July 2020, a fire ripped through the Iranian Natanz nuclear complex, a key site in the country’s uranium enrichment program in Isfahan Province, south of Tehran. According to Iran’s Supreme Nation Security Council, Iranian authorities decided not to publicly announce the findings on what caused the fire due to security concerns.

The following year, on the anniversary of National Nuclear Day, a blackout occurred in Natanz, which Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) described as a “terrorist action.” Israel’s army chief appeared to imply that Israel was involved in the incident.

Two missiles struck and damaged an oil tanker belonging to the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) in October 2019. The National Iranian Tanker Company’s spokesperson initially suggested it could have been fired from Saudi soil, but that was later dismissed, and the Iranian government did not provide an alternative conclusion.

Earlier that year, in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, a truck loaded with explosives detonated and struck a bus carrying members of the Iranian military’s elite Revolutionary Guard, killing at least 23 and injuring 17. The suicide attack was claimed by a separatist group called Jaish al-Adl, or Army of Justice.