Israel carries out missile strike against Iran

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Israel carries out missile strike against Iran

Blasts were heard in the central province of Isfahan

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Map of Iran.
Map of Iran.

Israel has carried out a missile strike against Iran.

Blasts were heard in the central province of Isfahan in an apparent retaliation to an Iranian attack against Israel on Saturday night.

Iranian media have not reported any direct impacts from Friday’s Israeli strike and the global nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has said no nuclear sites were damaged.

But the Iranian Far’s news agency reported that three drones had been destroyed and explosions heard in Isfahan.

Iranian air defences were later said to have opened fire over the cities of Isfahan and Tabriz.

Reports later claimed the attack was carried out by “infiltrators from inside Iran”.

There has been no official Israeli comment, but the strike appeared to be a limited one.

It coincided with the 84th birthday of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Isfahan province is home to a large airbase, a major missile production complex and several nuclear facilities.

Asked to comment on the strike, UK prime minister Rishi Sunak said Israel “absolutely has the right to self defence” but that the overnight incident was a “developing situation” for which he did not want to speculate over “until the facts become clearer.”

Iran fired more than 300 drones and missiles in its first ever direct attack on Israel, bringing a years-long shadow war between them into the open.

The airbase in Isfahan has long has been home to Iran’s fleet of American-made F-14 Tomcat fighter jets, bought before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iranian state media television has said its nuclear facilities near the city are “fully safe”.

The UN’s nuclear watchdog has also said there was no damage.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said it is monitoring the situation “very closely” and called for “extreme restraint”.

The UK government recognises Israel’s right to defend itself while pushing for de-escalation in the region, a Cabinet minister has said.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride told Times Radio: “I think what we should say first and foremost, of course, is this is an evolving situation. These are unconfirmed reports as at the moment.

“But where we are as a Government is recognising very clearly that Israel has a right to defend itself. Indeed we joined in with others in doing exactly that when Iran made that a very significant attack on Israel at the weekend.”

Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron is discussing the developments with counterparts at the G7 foreign ministers meeting in Italy, Stride said.

Stride declined to say whether the UK would support Israel’s strikes in Iran or any further action.

“I don’t want to get into hypotheticals,” he told Sky News. “We are very firmly engaged in counselling de-escalation and moderation at this particular moment.”

Tel Aviv had vowed to respond to Iran’s weekend attack, despite calls for restraint from allies, some of whom – including the UK, US and France – helped Israel repel Tehran’s unprecedented drone and missile barrage.

The onslaught followed Israel’s targeting of an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria earlier this month.

The two arch foes have waged a shadow war for decades, but the strike over the weekend was the first direct Iranian military attack on Israeli soil.

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