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Israel strikes Iran, but scope of attack is unclear

The scale and method of the attack were unclear. And the initial reaction in both Israel and Iran was muted, with media in both places appearing to downplay the attack, in what analysts said was an attempt to de-escalate the situation.
Last Updated : 19 April 2024, 07:19 IST
Last Updated : 19 April 2024, 07:19 IST

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The Israeli military struck Iran early Friday, according to two Israeli and three Iranian officials, in what appeared to be Israel's first military response to Iran's attack on Israel.

The Iranian officials said that a strike had hit a military air base near the city of Isfahan, in central Iran. The scale and method of the attack were unclear. And the initial reaction in both Israel and Iran was muted, with media in both places appearing to downplay the attack, in what analysts said was an attempt to de-escalate the situation. For nearly a week, world leaders have urged Israel and Iran to avoid sparking a broader war in the region.

The Israeli military declined to comment. All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly.

The explosions came less than a week after Iran fired more than 300 missiles and drones at Israel in response to an Israeli strike on an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria that killed seven Iranian officials on April 1. For days, Israeli leaders have threatened to respond to Iran's strike, which turned the yearslong shadow war into a direct confrontation.

Here's what you need to know:

  • Iranian officials said that the attack was carried out by small drones, possibly launched from inside Iran, and that its radar systems had not detected unidentified aircraft entering Iranian airspace. They said that a separate group of small drones were shot down in the region of Tabriz, roughly 500 miles north of Isfahan.

  • Iranian news agencies reported that explosions were heard near both cities, adding that nuclear facilities in Isfahan had not been hit.

  • In the aftermath, flight tracking websites showed that civilian planes had diverted their routes away from the area and Iranian news outlets reported that several airports had been closed. But within a few hours, Iran's state television had broadcast footage of normal life resuming in Isfafan and Iran's aviation agency said it was lifting flight restrictions.

  • U.S. President Joe Biden has advised Israel against responding, amid fears that an Israeli counterattack would escalate into an all-out war. For more than six months, Israel has been fighting on two other fronts -- against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and against Hezbollah in Lebanon. Both are allies of Iran.

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Published 19 April 2024, 07:19 IST

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