Iran said it fired air defences at a major air base and a nuclear site near the central city of Isfahan after spotting drones early on Friday morning, but it was unclear if the country had come under attack as no Iranian official directly acknowledged the possibility.

‘Three explosions’

Iranian state media said air defence batteries fired in several provinces over reports of drones being in the air.

The Fars news agency reported “three explosions” were heard near Qahjavarestan, near Isfahan airport and the 8th Shekari army airbase, while Iran’s space agency spokesman Hossein Dalirian said “several” drones had been “successfully shot down”.

Dalirian said on social media platform X there were “no reports of a missile attack”.

“Reports indicate there was no major damage or large explosions caused by the impact of any air threat,” the official IRNA news agency said.

US media report Israeli strikes

US media quoted unnamed officials saying Israel had carried out retaliatory strikes on its arch-rival.

NBC and CNN, citing sources familiar with the matter and a US official, respectively, said Israel had provided Washington with advance notice of the strike.

The sources said Washington did not endorse the operation or play any part in its execution.

CNN quoted one official as stating the target was not a nuclear facility.

There was no immediate comment from the White House or Pentagon.

Hardline minister breaks Israeli silence

While there was no official word from the Israeli authorities, National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir came under fire for implying in a social media post that Israel was behind the Iran blasts.

Ben Gvir, a hardliner in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling coalition, wrote “Scarecrow!” on X, meaning “feeble” in Hebrew slang, appearing to suggest Israel was behind the blasts but its action was weak.

His comment swiftly sparked reactions on social media and television channels.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid wrote on X: “In an unforgivable tweet of one word, Ben Gvir managed to sneer and shame Israel from Tehran to Washington.”

Nuclear facilities ‘unharmed’

Iran’s state television said nuclear facilities where Iran has been conducting work – which Tehran says is peaceful but which the West believes is aimed at building a weapon – were unharmed following Friday’s blasts.

The Natanz nuclear site, the centerpiece of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, is in Isfahan province.

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, also said “there is no damage to Iran’s nuclear sites” after the reported blasts.

Flights briefly suspended

Flights were suspended across swathes of Iran on Friday, with the UAE-based flydubai airline cancelling flights to the country, but Tehran’s two major airports later resumed service.

Loudspeakers informed customers of the incident at Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran, online videos purported to show.

The explosions in Iran coincided with the 85th birthday of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Syria strike

Israeli strikes also hit a military position in Syria’s south, the state-run news agency Sana reported, quoting a Syrian military statement.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said the dawn strikes “targeted a radar installation of the Syrian army” between the provinces of Sweida and Daraa.

Israel has been blamed for a spate of recent attacks in Syria, including an April 1 strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, in which seven of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards including two generals were killed.

April 13 attack on Israel

Israeli authorities had vowed to respond to Iran’s unprecedent April 13 drone and missile attack on Israel, Tehran’s first attack to directly target its regional foe.

Israel, backed by its allies, intercepted most of the 300 missiles and drones launched by Iran, and suffered no deaths.

Iran said it launched its attack in retaliation for the April 1 strike on its consulate in Syria.

After its missile and drone barrage against Israel, Iran had declared the matter concluded. But Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian had warned that Tehran would make Israel “regret” any new attack on the Islamic republic.

Source » france24