US-Israel Missile Strike Claims as Iran Fires Air Defense at Two Sites After Drones Spotted
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By The Smartencyclopedia Staff & Agencies

Commercial flights abruptly altered their routes early Friday morning over western Iran without formal explanation, coinciding with reports from a semi-official news agency in the Islamic Republic suggesting “explosions” were heard over the city of Isfahan.

According to US officials, an Israeli retaliatory missile was allegedly fired as Iran activated air defenses at a major air base and a nuclear site near the central city of Isfahan after detecting drones early Friday.

While Iranian state media cite unconfirmed reports of explosions in Isfahan’s central province, US officials informed CBS News, a BBC partner, about Israel’s missile launch following Tehran’s recent drone and missile attack.

Nevertheless, there’s ambiguity surrounding the purported attack, as no Iranian official has directly acknowledged it, and Israel’s military remained silent upon request for comment.

Tensions have soared since Saturday’s assault on Israel amid its conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip and its strikes targeting Iran in Syria.

Anonymous Israeli officials quoted by The New York Times corroborate the assault claim. State television reported air defense batteries were activated in several provinces in response to drone sightings.

Specifically, IRNA noted air defenses engaged at a major air base in Isfahan, historically home to Iran’s fleet of American-made F-14 Tomcats, acquired before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iranian state TV reassured the safety of nuclear facilities near Isfahan after air defense activations. Fars and Tasnim news agencies reported blasts without specifying a cause. State television acknowledged a “loud noise” in the vicinity.

Tasnim later released a video from a reporter near Isfahan’s “nuclear energy mountain,” showing anti-aircraft gun positions.

Dubai-based carriers Emirates and FlyDubai diverted flights around western Iran around 4:30 am local time, without explanation. Iran subsequently grounded commercial flights in Tehran and surrounding regions.

Hossein Dalirian, a spokesperson for Iran’s civilian cyberspace program, mentioned the downing of “several small” drones, though details remain unclear.

Concurrently, Israeli warplanes reportedly struck a military radar in Syria’s southern province of Daraa, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The area lies west of Isfahan and east of Israel.

In Baghdad, residents reported explosions, the source of which remains uncertain.

The US and UK announced new sanctions on Iran, targeting entities involved in drone and ballistic missile industries. European Union leaders pledged intensified sanctions on Iran to curb drone and missile deliveries to Gaza, Yemen, and Lebanon proxies.

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