What we know about Israel’s missile attack on Iran – BBC.com

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What we know about Israel’s missile attack on Iran – BBC.com

  • By Sean Seddon and Daniele Palumbo
  • BBC News

Legend, Iranian state television broadcast images from Isfahan that appeared to show no signs of damage.

US officials say Israel struck Iran with a missile in the early hours of Friday, in what appears to have been a retaliatory strike after weeks of escalating tensions between the two countries.

There are conflicting claims about the scale of the attack on the Isfahan area and the extent of the damage, with Iranian state media downplaying its significance.

It comes after weeks of growing tensions between the regional rivals, which have already seen an Israeli attack on an Iranian compound in Syria, and Iran launching an unprecedented attack on Israel.

Here’s everything we know so far about the latest incident.

How do we know there was a strike?

Israel does not systematically confirm its military actions, which have repeatedly targeted Iranian-backed armed groups in Syria and Iraq.

However, US officials have confirmed to BBC partner CBS News that an Israeli missile did indeed hit Iran.

US sources say a missile was involved in the attack, while Iran says they were small drones.

The Iranian government tightly controls access to the country. The BBC does not have direct access to the central Isfahan region, where this incident took place overnight.

What weapon could have been used?

Until now, there has been much speculation regarding the type of missile used.

BBC Verify attempted to identify the weapon by analyzing footage of the wreckage released from an area in neighboring Iraq, 60 km (45 miles) southwest of the capital Baghdad.

Image source, Sabreen News

Legend, Sabereen News published photos showing what it says is Israeli missile debris in central Iraq

Among experts, there now appears to be a broader consensus that a two-stage missile was used – and probably launched from the air. Many identify the debris with Israeli-produced Blue Sparrow missiles.

Justin Crump, a former British army officer who runs the risk intelligence firm Sibylline, agreed that the debris seen in the photos likely came from a missile booster “with the warhead having detached and presumably part to accomplish its mission – it’s the engine that fails. towards the earth.

“The booster has attachment points typically used to connect to an aircraft and its overall size suggests it could be an air-launched system,” Crump said.

Although we cannot yet independently verify the exact type of missile, it is known that Israel has developed this type of weapon.

“Israel has already used such weapons in Syria, so this is well within its capabilities,” Crump added.

What does Iran say about this strike?

Some Iranian officials and media have confirmed there was an attempted strike, but downplayed its significance. No casualties have been reported.

Iran’s Fars news agency says explosions were heard near a military base and air defense systems were activated.

The explosions heard in the Isfahan area were “due to air defense fire on suspicious objects” and there was no damage, a general was quoted as saying by state media.

Legend, Iranian state media sought to downplay reports of strike in Isfahan

The semi-official Tasnim news agency, close to the powerful military wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, published video of a nuclear facility in Isfahan that shows no signs of attack.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed that no damage has been caused to Iran’s nuclear sites.

Hossein Dalirian, a spokesman for Iran’s National Cyberspace Center, said there had been “no air attacks from outside the borders.”

He said Israel had “made only a failed and humiliating attempt to fly quadcopters.” [drones]” who had been shot.

Iran imposed restrictions on commercial flights in the hours immediately following the strike, but they have now been lifted.

Explosions were also reported overnight in Iraq and Syria – where Iran-backed armed groups operate – but it is unclear whether they were directly linked to the Isfahan strike.

The Syrian Defense Ministry said an air defense site in southern Syria was hit by an Israeli missile in the early hours of Friday morning local time. Israel has not confirmed that it was behind the strike.

Why was Isfahan targeted and why now?

Isfahan Province is a large region in central Iran that takes its name from its largest city.

The region is home to significant Iranian military infrastructure, including a large air base, a major missile production complex, and several nuclear facilities.

Israel usually informed the United States in advance of any military action, but Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani told reporters at the G7 meeting in Capri that Washington was “not informed until the very last minute.”

Speaking at the summit, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declined to comment on the attack, saying only that the US had “not been involved in any offensive operations”.

Despite its unprecedented scale and character, the Iranian attack was largely unsuccessful, with the vast majority of projectiles shot down by Israeli air defenses with assistance from the United States, the United Kingdom and other allies.

Israel has also not publicly confirmed that it was behind the strike, but it is widely believed that it was.

Will this increase tensions between Israel and Iran?

The scale of this latest strike is still becoming clear and it is not yet clear whether Iran will seek to respond.

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardener describes the scale of Friday’s attack as limited and potentially aimed at ensuring the conflict does not go further.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will face competing pressure from some of his own generals and political allies to retaliate against Iran, according to BBC international editor Jeremy Bowen.

Legend, Iran and Israel both have powerful militaries but have avoided direct conflict.

Israel has come under enormous international pressure from the United States and other Western allies not to take any action that risks turning the long-running proxy war between the two Middle East rivals into conflict. direct.

This resumption of hostilities comes in the context of the war in Gaza, where the Israeli army is fighting Hamas supported by Iran.

What was the reaction in Israel and around the world?

Some reactions in Israel have highlighted the country’s political divisions.

Ultranationalist Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir called the strike on Iran “weak” or “lame.”

In response, Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid called for his dismissal and said his comments had ridiculed and embarrassed Israel.

The British government said it would not speculate on the strike, but said Israel should avoid “significant escalation” while exercising its “right of self-defense.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called on all parties to refrain from further action.

How has the global economy responded?

There are fears that a worsening conflict in the Middle East could disrupt oil supplies.

Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil prices, rose 1.8% to $88 a barrel after the attack.

Oil prices initially jumped 3.5%, but stabilized when it became clear that the strike was limited.

The price of gold – which is often considered a safe investment in times of uncertainty – briefly approached a record high before falling back to nearly $2,400 an ounce.

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