Israel responds to Iran: Several explosions near Isfahan

The Iranian government has downplayed the attack but did claim to have shot down drones in the vicinity of several military bases.

Several explosions were heard from the central Iranian city of Isfahan. According to U.S. security sources, they were the result of a "limited" retaliation by Israel against Iran following last weekend's massive attack on Israeli soil.

Specifically, a U.S. official confirmed to CNN and Fox News that Israeli projectiles hit Iranian territory. However, this official did not confirm whether Israel also attacked Syria and Iraq.

The reports come from the city of Isfahan and its province. In this place, located 200 miles south of the capital Tehran, the Iranian regime has several military and air bases. In the vicinity of the city of Isfahan there are also several storage and processing infrastructures for enriched uranium. About 60% of Iranian uranium is stored in that province.

Iran, through its IRNA news agency, assured that no missile hit Iranian territory. It did confirm that the alarms were activated and that its anti-aircraft defense system shot down drones in the province of Isfahan.

Also, minutes after the explosions were reported, various Iranian state media reported that flights over Isfahan, Shiraz and Tehran were suspended after explosions were heard near their airports.

In addition, Iranian state media also reported that Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport canceled all its flights for several hours, before operations ultimately resumed.

IAEA rules out damage to nuclear facilities

There are no reliable reports about the potential damage that the attack may have caused. As for Iran's nuclear infrastructure, the International Atomic Energy Organization reported that it is not aware of any damage to Iran's nuclear infrastructure.


Iran and Israel choose to downplay the attack

The Iranian government, as reflected in the media, has chosen to minimize the impact of the attack. Israel has not confirmed the attack either, which leaves Iran the possibility to not seek explanations and to avoid aggressive rhetoric that could further escalate the conflict. Iran could even go so far as to publicly deny that the attack came from Israel or from outside.

A senior official quoted by The Times of Israel assured that there would be no Iranian response for this attack. "The foreign origin of the incident has not been confirmed. We have not received any external attack, and the discussion leans more toward infiltration than attack," the Iranian official said on condition of anonymity.

The Tasnim news agency, closely affiliated with the Iranian regime, directly denied that there was an attack against the province of Isfahan. "There is no information of an attack from abroad against Isfahan or any other point in Iran," Tasnim said, citing "informed sources," as reported by AFP.

Explosions in Iraq and Syria so far not related to Iran

Explosions were also reported in As-Suwayda Governorate in southern Syria, as well as near Baghdad, the capital of Iraq; and in the Babylon Governorate of Iraq.

One of the media reporting the explosions is Sky News Arabia, which cited local media to alert about explosions in different cities in Syria, Iraq and, especially, Iran.

The Jerusalem Post claimed that Syrian reports indicate that the airstrikes targeted facilities belonging to the Syrian Army in the provinces of As-Suwayda and Daraa, in southern Syria. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH) also claimed there was an attack on Syrian Army positions, though details were not provided. "Israeli strikes targeted a Syrian Army radar position between the provinces of Sueida and Deraa," Rami Abdel Rahman, the director of the OSDH, a U.K.-based NGO with a wide network of sources in Syria, told AFP.

Meanwhile, at the time of publishing this article, beyond preliminary reports, there is still no official confirmation as to the extent of the explosions, nor is there any party claiming responsibility for the attack.

According to internal sources, Israel had notified the United States about the attack against Iran, but Washington neither gave the green light nor participated in the retaliation.

US embassy asks employees to restrict their movements

The State Department has opted for prudence. The U.S. embassy in Israel ordered its employees to restrict their travel in Israel until further notice. On its website, the department asks "U.S. Government employees and their families" not to travel "for personal reasons" outside major cities such as Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Beersheba.

Other countries such as Australia also called on their citizens to be cautious and asked to halt travel to Israel in the coming days, fearing a potential escalation with Iran.