Israel reportedly carried out a drone strike targeting an Iranian munitions factory Sunday as tensions grow between the two countries.
Iranian officials claim their air defenses struck down one drone and two others committed minor damage to the munitions factory, according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The munitions factory, located in the city of Isfahan, is right next to a site belonging to the Iran Space Research Center, which has been sanctioned by the State Department for contributing to Iran’s ballistic missile program.
#BREAKING: WSJ reports #Israel carried out a clandestine drone strike targeting a defense compound in #Iran, as U.S. & Israel look for ways to contain Tehran’s nuclear & military ambitions, according to U.S. officials & people familiar with the operation.https://t.co/ijfECfRbdy
— Jason Brodsky (@JasonMBrodsky) January 29, 2023
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian responded to the strike forcefully. “Such actions cannot impact the determination and intent of our experts for peaceful nuclear progress,” he said, according to state media service PadDolat. (RELATED: ‘Kill, Torture And Intimidate’: Three Iran-Backed Men Charged With Attempted Assassination Of U.S. Citizen)
The strike comes as American officials negotiate with Israel’s newly elected administration on Iran and other regional issues. Secretary of State Tony Blinken will speak with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to reduce tensions with the Palestinian population, Reuters reported.
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William Burns made an unannounced trip to Israel on Thursday to discuss similar issues, the same day Israeli forces killed seven Palestinian gunmen and two civilians during a raid in disputed territory.
On Friday night, a Palestinian gunman killed at least seven Israeli civilians outside a synagogue in Jerusalem, an attack celebrated publicly by Palestinians. Netanyahu announced a series of retaliatory measures Saturday, such as strengthening settlements in disputed territory and making it easier for Israelis to obtain gun licenses, according to the Associated Press.
Additionally, the U.S. and Israel carried out its largest joint military exercises last week as a warning to Iran and other adversaries in the region, WSJ reported. General Herzi Halevi, Israel’s new military chief of staff, said the exercises “bring a very clear message to Iran: if Iran makes mistakes, offense capabilities are getting ready.”