Israel Drone Strike Hit Iranian Weapons Facility

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Ann Israeli drone attack in Iran Israel struck an advanced weapons production facility in an attack that it believed had achieved its goal, according to people familiar with the discussion of the operation.

The operation early Sunday morning, carried out by Israeli intelligence service Mossad, targeted a Defense Ministry site in Isfahan, central Iran, and hit buildings in four different regions with precision strikes, officials said. rice field. Satellite photos showed what appeared to be minor damage to the roof of the site, but without elaborating, people called the mission a success.

This account contradicts Iranian officials who said the country’s air defense systems fended off the attempted attack. Munitions depot It caused minimal damage.

The attack marks a new chapter in the long-running conflict between Israel and Iran, with Israel using sabotage, assassinations and drone strikes to target Iran’s nuclear program and its conventional weapons capabilities, while Iran seeks to overthrow Israel. armed militias along the border of

People said the Defense Department site targeted on Sunday is a weapons production facility. standing. The Space Research Center houses the Materials and Energy Laboratory, which conducts research that can be used to develop drones, missiles and satellites, as well as metal testing for nuclear projects, said Ronen Solomon, an independent Israeli intelligence analyst. Stated.

On Monday, Iranian state media released fragments of a small drone used in the attack. If genuine, the drones depicted are Chinese-made quadcopter drones, most likely with limited range, said Tal Biri, director of the Arma Center. Israeli Research Division and former Israeli military intelligence officer.

“By the way, you can order it online,” Beeri said of the drone.

The operation was carried out early Sunday morning by Israeli Mossad intelligence services, according to people familiar with the discussion of the operation.


-/ Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

People familiar with the debate compared Sunday morning’s operation to last year’s Israeli quadcopter drone attack on an Iranian drone production site in the western Iranian city of Kermanshah. In retaliation last March, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fired missiles at the Iraqi Kurdish city of Erbil, claiming the area was inhabited by Mossad operatives who launched the drone strikes.

The Israeli strike, which has not been publicly acknowledged by the country’s leadership, was cheered in Ukraine. Iranian drone Attack civilian infrastructure. Iran on Monday summoned its acting ambassador to the Ukrainian embassy in Tehran over a tweet by an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

“Explosive night in Iran,” tweeted adviser Mihailo Podoljak, before suggesting that Ukraine had warned Iran not to get involved. confrontation with Russia.

Iran has admitted supplying drones to Russia, but says the transfer took place before Russia invaded Ukraine, a claim US officials dispute.

just before the drone attack Middle East visit Secretary of State Anthony Brinken. When questioned by reporters, he declined to comment specifically on the attack.

“More generally, it is very important not only for the United States, but also for many of our partners in the region, to address and, if necessary, oppose the various actions involving Iran. Beyond the region,” Brinken said.

“The US government is well aware of the deplorable and decisive response of the Islamic Republic to its aggressors,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said.

Iran has not accused any country of attacking the Isfahan site. Iranian officials say two drones exploded after being jammed, and his other was shot down and crashed harmlessly into a building.

Iran says its Materials and Energy Research Institute is being used to develop civilian technologies. Intelligence analyst Solomon said its location across the street from the Defense Department compound indicates the research could also be used to build advanced weapons. rice field.

Solomon said the Iranian Space Research Center said on its website that it could be reverse engineered and could be used to copy Russian military technology passed on to the Iranians.

“The research group is building a production line for the Department of Defense,” Solomon said. Solomon is the author of the Intelli-Times blog and is working on a book on the history of Israel’s decades-long campaign to foil Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.

Solomon relied on official Iranian documents, including photos and videos published online from inside the Iranian Space Research Center, official information released by the organization, publicly available academic research, and past intelligence reports. said there is. facility under attack.

Israel’s latest strike comes as Israeli and US officials discuss new ways to combat Iran’s destabilization campaign, including deepening military cooperation with Russia.

Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns made an unannounced visit to Israel last week to discuss Iran and other regional issues, said a person familiar with his visit.

Last week, the United States and Israel Largest Joint Military Exercise Ever More than 7,500 personnel from both countries participated in a series of scenarios to test their ability to destroy air defense systems and refuel jets. Both of these could be key components of a large-scale military attack on Iran.

President Biden’s efforts to revive a nuclear containment pact with Iran have stalled, but the United States has yet to develop an alternative. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged the US to take a tougher stance against Iran.

Write to Dov Lieber: [email protected] and Benoît Faucon [email protected]

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