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29 Jan, 2023 18:29

Israel struck Iran with drones – WSJ

Tehran said that the attack was “unsuccessful”
Israel struck Iran with drones – WSJ

Israel was behind Sunday morning’s drone strike on an Iranian munitions facility, the Wall Street Journal has reported, citing American officials. The strike, which Iran says it thwarted, came after the US and Israel held a series of meetings and military exercises.

One explosives-laden drone was shot down by an Iranian air defense system while two others crashed into a protective mesh above a military workshop in the city of Isfahan in the early hours of the morning, Iran’s Defense Ministry claimed. 

“This unsuccessful attack did not cause any loss of life and caused minor damage to the workshop’s roof,” the ministry stressed, according to state media outlet IRNA. Tehran did not initially blame the attack on Israel.

However, unnamed US officials and other “people familiar with the operation” told the Wall Street Journal that Israel was responsible for the strike. The Israeli military has not officially confirmed its involvement, in keeping with its usual policy of silence following attacks on foreign targets.

The attack came after CIA Director William Burns made an unannounced visit to Israel last week to discuss Iran. While the specifics of his discussion with his Israeli counterparts are unknown, Gen. Herzi Halevi, the Israel Defense Forces’ chief of staff, told the Wall Street Journal last week that the US and Israel were readying “offensive capabilities” for use against the Islamic Republic.

These “capabilities” were demonstrated last week when the two allies held their largest-ever joint military drills, in which they practiced mid-air refueling and strikes against air-defense systems.

Washington has accused Tehran of supporting Russia’s military operation in Ukraine by supplying ‘kamikaze’ drones. While Russia and Iran officially denied this, both nations have drawn closer together since the Ukrainian conflict began, increasing their trade turnover during 2022 and integrating their bank card systems earlier this month.

Gen. Halevi said that the US and Israel are explicitly aiming to “limit the bad actions that Iran is taking all over the world,” including its “negative contribution” to the conflict in Ukraine.

Sunday’s drone strikes happened amid reports on social media of explosions across the Islamic Republic. A blast occurred at an oil production plant in the northwestern city of Azarshahr in the province of East Azerbaijan, while a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck the province at the same time. The oil plant explosion has not been blamed on foul play.