Mossad behind drone strike on Iran factory, U.S. officials say

Reports infer that the attack on the Isfahan military factory was an action meant to serve the security interests of Israel; it would be Israel's first attack on Iran since Netanyahu returned to office last month

Ynet, Agencies|
Israel's Mossad appears to have been behind an overnight drone attack on an Iranian defense factory in Isfahan's central city, a U.S. official told the New York Times on Sunday.
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  • The intelligence sources, including those familiar with the dialogue between Israel and the U.S., said that the targeted facility's purpose was not clear, and neither was how much damage the strike caused.
    2 View gallery
    The explosion in Isfahan, remains of a suicide drone
    The explosion in Isfahan, remains of a suicide drone
    The explosion in Isfahan, remains of a suicide drone
    (Photo: Reuters/ WANA)
    However, it is clear that Isfahan is a major center of missile production, research, and development for Iran, including the assembly of many of its Shahab medium-range missiles, which can reach Israel and beyond.
    Iran claimed to have intercepted drones that struck a military industry target near Isfahan, and said there were no casualties or serious damage. Local television broadcast comments by Iranian lawmaker, Hossein Mirzaie, saying there was "strong speculation" that Israel was behind the attack.
    The state media also released footage showing a flash in the sky and emergency vehicles at the scene.
    Documentation of the explosion in Isfahan
    "Around 23:30 (2000 GMT) on Saturday night, an unsuccessful attack was carried out using micro Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) on one of the ministry's workshop sites," the Defense Ministry said in a statement carried by Iran's state TV.
    It said one drone was shot down "and the other two were caught in defense traps and blew up. It caused only minor damage to the roof of a workshop building. There were no casualties."
    The attack "has not affected our installations and mission...and such blind measures will not have an impact on the continuation of the country's progress."
    2 View gallery
    Hypersonic missile
    Hypersonic missile
    Hypersonic missile
    (Photo: AP)
    That U.S. officials pointed to an Israeli role in the attack, was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, citing several unidentified sources. One U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity said it did appear that Israel was involved. Several other U.S. officials declined to comment, beyond saying that Washington played no role.
    The attack came amid tension between Iran and the West over Tehran's nuclear activity and its supply of arms - including long-range "suicide drones" - for Russia's war in Ukraine.
    In Ukraine, which accuses Iran of supplying hundreds of drones to Russia to attack civilian targets in Ukrainian cities far from the front, a senior aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy linked the incident directly to the war there.
    "Explosive night in Iran," Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted. "Did warn you."
    Nonetheless, current reports infer that the attack on the defense factory was an action meant to serve the security interests of Israel, rather than an attempt to thwart the supply of drones to Russia.
    This strike on Iran would be the first under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since he returned to office last month. It also took place ahead of the visit to Israel by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
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