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Iran ‘thwarts’ drone attack on ammunition factory

Iranian air defenses thwarted a drone attack on a munitions factory in the central city of Isfahan late Saturday evening, the Iranian Defense Ministry said.

At around 11:30 p.m., three quadcopters loaded with bombs attacked a military compound in downtown Isfahan, according to a statement from the Iranian Defense Ministry.

The attack comes amid rising tensions between the West and Iran over the failure of the Iranian nuclear deal and Russia’s use of Tehran’s Shahed drones in its attacks on Ukraine.

A video posted on Telegram accounts linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shows a powerful explosion that thundered over the building. In the video, which was filmed from across the street, a passer-by can be heard saying “it’s a drone” and describing the anti-aircraft fire that drew them to the scene.

The attack came at the height of a turbulent night in Tehran, with a magnitude 5.9 earthquake hitting the country’s northwest, injuring more than 800 people and killing three, and a number of unconfirmed reports of fires and explosions at other military installations.

“Failed Attack”

“One of the (drones) was shot down by … air defense systems, and the other two fell into air defense traps and exploded,” the ministry said in a statement. “Fortunately, this botched attack did not result in any loss of life and caused minor damage to the roof of the workshop.”

It was not immediately clear what type of weapon the “workshop” was producing.

Tehran did not immediately speculate as to who was responsible for the attack, but did report a series of apparent attacks on its defense installations in recent years that are widely believed to have been carried out by Israel as part of its shadow war with Iran. .

Israel rarely commented on its operations inside Iran, but if confirmed, it would be the first covert operation by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has long been known to be hawkish about Iran since he took office again last month.

During his previous term as leader, Israel regularly hit Iranian targets in Syria to cripple the IRGC. Naftali Bennett, who served between Netanyahu’s administrations, took the war directly to Iranian territory through a series of covert operations he called the “Octopus Doctrine.”

Israel has long insisted on a tougher response to Iran’s nuclear program than diplomacy over the nuclear deal, and has repeatedly vowed to take military action against its nemesis if negotiations to salvage the pact fail.

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