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27 May, 2024
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Israel strikes Iran, air defenses activated amid rising tensions

Reports of explosions near Isfahan airbase prompt heightened regional alert


Iran has fired air defense shots amid reports of explosions near a major airbase in Isfahan province, according to state media, amidst escalating tensions following Iran’s retaliatory strike on Israel after Israel had attacked its consulate in Syria.

US broadcaster ABC News reported Israel had launched a missile attack against a site in Iran, citing a senior US official, but there was no confirmation from Israel and Iran regarding the alleged attack.

Iran’s ISNA News Agency quoted an unnamed senior military official stating that the morning explosions heard in Isfahan were related to "air defense activity" over the city, with the military firing shots at "suspicious objects." The commander assured that the explosions "did not cause any accidents or damage."

Mohammad Marandi, a political and security analyst at the University of Tehran, suggested the situation was still unclear, indicating that while there may have been incidents near Isfahan, everything appeared to be "business as usual." He emphasized Iran's stance that any further Israeli aggression would be met with a stronger response.

Earlier, Iran had launched over 300 drones and missiles against Israel, in retaliation for an attack on its consulate in Damascus.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military reported that warning sirens in northern Israel were a false alarm, following unconfirmed reports of Israeli strikes in Iran.

The reported incidents highlight the fragile state of tensions between Iran and Israel, with Iran activating air defenses and suspending flights over several areas, while explosions were reported near military sites in Syria.

Exchanging Attacks After Decades of Shadow Warfare

The alleged retaliation on Friday morning marks the latest in a series of attacks traded between the two regional foes, escalating tensions after years of covert confrontation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had pledged retaliation following Iran's launch of drones and missiles at Israel on April 13. Tehran's action, its first strike on Israeli soil, was purportedly in response to an alleged Israeli airstrike on Tehran's embassy in Damascus on April 1.

The exchange of attacks is part of a broader escalation since the onset of the conflict in Gaza in October. However, hostile relations between the two nations have a lengthy history of attacks across various domains, including land, sea, air, and cyberspace.

Here's a timeline highlighting key events:

1979 – Iran undergoes an Islamic Revolution, replacing its pro-Western leader with a new theocratic regime antagonistic to Israel.

1982 – Iran's Revolutionary Guards collaborate with Shiite Muslims in Lebanon to establish Hezbollah, posing a significant threat to Israel.

1983 – Hezbollah conducts suicide bombings targeting Western and Israeli forces in Lebanon.

1992-94 – Iran and Hezbollah are accused of orchestrating deadly bombings in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

2002 – Concerns arise over Iran's uranium enrichment program, raising suspicions of nuclear weapon ambitions.

2006 – Israel engages in a month-long conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

2010 – Stuxnet, a computer virus believed to be developed by the US and Israel, targets Iran's Natanz nuclear site.

2012 – Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan is killed in a bombing in Tehran.

2018 – Israel applauds the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

2020 – Israel welcomes the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a US drone strike.

2021 – Iran accuses Israel of assassinating nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

2022 – US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid pledge to oppose Iran's nuclear ambitions.

2024 – Reports emerge of an Israeli airstrike on the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus, followed by an Iranian attack on Israeli soil.

[Source: Reuters, AFP, AP, Al Jazeera]

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