Iran claims it foiled drone attack on defense facility in Isfahan

Authorities say no damage caused to facility; incident comes as Israel appears to step up activities against Iranian interests in Syria

An Iranian long-range Ghadr missile with "Death to Israel" written in Hebrew down the side is displayed at a defense exhibition in city of Isfahan, central Iran, on February 8, 2023. (Morteza Salehi/Tasnim News/AFP)
Illustrative: An Iranian long-range Ghadr missile with 'Death to Israel' written in Hebrew down the side is displayed at a defense exhibition in city of Isfahan, central Iran, on February 8, 2023. (Morteza Salehi/Tasnim News/AFP)

Iran has claimed to thwart a drone strike on a defense complex in the central city of Isfahan, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

The Wednesday report said a drone approached the Amir al-Momenin complex on Tuesday night when it was shot down by air defenses. No damage was caused to the facility, Tasnim reported.

Iran has blamed Israel for attacks on its territory, including the killings of some of its nuclear scientists and damage to nuclear installations in recent years.

Iranian authorities reported an “unsuccessful” drone attack on January 28 that targeted a defense ministry “workshop complex,” also in Isfahan. In February, Iran’s envoy to the United Nations accused Israel of being behind the attack.

Israel appears to have stepped up its activity in Syria in recent weeks, targeting Iranian and Hezbollah activity in the nation.

Damascus warned Israel that its recent activity risked dragging the region toward “total escalation,” after a fourth airstrike in Syria attributed to Israel was carried out within the span of a week early Tuesday morning. Two Syrian civilians were reportedly killed in the attack.

Mourners attend the funeral procession for two of Iran’s revolutionary guard forces killed by Israel in Syria, held in Tehran on April 4, 2023. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

Tuesday morning’s strike came a day after the Israeli Air Force said a drone downed in Israeli airspace was suspected to be Iranian.

In a strike in Syria last Friday, two members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed. Thousands of Iranians attended their funeral processions in Tehran on Tuesday.

“We will avenge the blood of martyrs Milad Heydari and Meqdad Meqdani,” IRGC spokesman Ramazan Sharif vowed, as crowds chanted “down with Israel.”

As a general rule, Israel’s military does not comment on specific strikes in Syria, but it has acknowledged conducting hundreds of sorties against Iran-backed groups attempting to gain a foothold in the country over the last decade.

The IDF says it also attacks arms shipments believed to be bound for those groups, chief among them Hezbollah. Additionally, airstrikes attributed to Israel have repeatedly targeted Syrian air defense systems.

Iran, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, claims it only deploys military advisers in the conflict-ravaged country.

Some Israeli media outlets cited unattributed assessments on Monday that the string of airstrikes in Syria could be linked to last month’s suspected Hezbollah terror bombing near Megiddo in northern Israel, which Jerusalem believes was carried out by a terrorist who crossed the Lebanon border fence using a ladder. One man was seriously wounded in the attack. The suspected assailant was shot dead.

While many details of the investigation into the Megiddo bombing are barred from publication, the Haaretz news site cited speculation that the series of airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria could indicate that the IRGC was involved in the latest security incidents.

Emanuel Fabian and agencies contributed to this report.

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