Israel launches airstrikes on Iran, drones shot down over Isfahan

Israel initiated airstrikes on Iranian territory on Friday, escalating the longstanding covert conflicts between the two nations into more overt hostility, according to sources cited by Reuters. This recent exchange heightens the risk of broader regional conflict.

Following the attack, explosions were reported in Iran, which an Iranian official attributed to their air defense systems intercepting three drones over Isfahan. Israeli military and government officials have not yet commented on the incident.

A senior Iranian official indicated to Reuters that Iran does not intend to retaliate immediately, while initial reactions in Iranian state media were relatively restrained.

Prior to the attack, the United States was informed, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. This move by Israel follows an aggressive assault by Iran, involving a volley of drones and missiles, most of which were intercepted.

Global powers, including the United States, had urged Israel to restrain its response to avoid further escalation. This comes after an April 1 airstrike on the Iranian embassy compound in Damascus, widely attributed to Israel, amidst heightened tensions due to Iran’s support for Hamas. This support is seen as a factor in Hamas’s October 7 incursion into Israel, which led to an Israeli military response in Gaza.

The identity of the attackers remains under scrutiny. The senior Iranian official expressed skepticism about Israel’s responsibility, suggesting the possibility of infiltration rather than a direct assault, and stated that conclusive evidence of an external attack had not been confirmed.