At a time when Israeli officials threaten to attack Iran one after another, Tel Aviv turned out to be again behind the latest attack on a military factory in Isfahan city.
On this Saturday night at around 11:30 PM, a drone attack by three small quadcopters targeted a defense compound in Iran’s city of Isfahan. The compound is located right next to a site belonging to the Iran Space Research Center, which the U.S. imposed sanctions on for its alleged cooperation in assisting Iran’s ballistic-missile program.
According to Iran’s Defense Ministry, three bomb-carrying drones were launched at the facility, and the air defenses in the military factory could shut down two of them successfully. A third, however, apparently made it through to strike the building, causing “minor damage” to its roof and wounding no one, the ministry said.
More than 24 hours after the attack, there was still no immediate confirmation about who was responsible, but the attacks appear to fit a pattern of strikes against strategic sites across Iran that have been attributed to Israel in recent years.
The idea came true on this Monday morning when a report by The Wall Street Journal revealed that unnamed US officials and people familiar with the strike confirmed Israel’s direct role in carrying out the drone attack.
One US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters news agency that it did appear Israel was involved. Other American officials declined to comment beyond saying the US played no role. Meanwhile in Ukraine, which accuses Iran of supplying hundreds of drones to Russia to attack targets in Ukrainian cities, a senior aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy linked the incident directly to the war there. “Explosive night in Iran,” Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted. “Did warn you.”
Israel’s history of attacks against Iran
The attack on Saturday happened exactly at a time as the United States and Israel just finished their 5-day military exercise in the Mediterranean Sea, stimulating attacks against targets in Iran.
The two sides have also been lately discussing ways to combat Iran’s capabilities, especially its nuclear and drone facilities.
Israel has a history of launching a series of attacks on Iran. In a series of latest attacks, Israel assaulted on Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear facility in April 2021, a strike that damaged Iran’s centrifuges. However, Israeli officials rarely acknowledge operations carried out by the country’s secret military units or its Mossad intelligence agency.
Few hours after the drone attack, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian strongly rebuked the move and described it as “cowardly” and aimed at creating “insecurity” in the country.
Before the report by The Wall Street Journal was released Monday, Iranian lawmaker Hossein Mirzaie said a day earlier and in comments broadcasted on Iran’s State TV that there was “strong speculation” Israel was behind the attack.
Isfahan’s factory is 350km (217 miles) south of the capital Tehran. The ministry of Defense in Iran called the site a “workshop” without elaborating. But as The Wall Street Journal report noted, Israel believed that the site was a center of Iran’s nuclear fuel research and production.
Israel should be expecting reaction from Tehran
Now that thanks to the report by The Wall Street Journals, Tehran is sure about who to blame for the recent drone attacks, the possibility of retaliation against Israel is significant high and Tel Aviv should be expecting maybe a similar response with Iran potentially using its own very sizeable drone fleet.
Iran has before proven that it will respond to attacks inside its territory. For example, it notably responded to the CIA assassination in January 2020 of its most decorated military officer, General Qassim Soleimani, with missile strikes on U.S. military facilities in Iraq, causing over 100 casualties.