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Israel carries out airstrike in Iran, US media says, citing Israeli and US officials

Israel carries out airstrike in Iran, US media says, citing Israeli and US officials



Israel carried out a pre-dawn airstrike in Iran on Friday.

The New York Times and Washington Post cited Israeli officials as saying that Israel had carried out an airstrike in Iran. U.S. officials were quoted by several news outlets as talking about a missile strike.

The location or target of the apparent Israeli strike was not immediately identified.

About an hour after this information was published, an Israeli military spokesperson contacted by VOA said he had no comment “at this time.”

Italian Foreign Minister Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani, host of the Group of 7 ministerial meeting in Capri, Italy, said Friday that Israel informed the United States at the last minute about the attack.

Speaking to reporters at a briefing Friday after the G7 meetings in Capri, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was repeatedly asked to comment on the reports, but declined to do so.

The United States was not involved in any offensive operations, Blinken responded. What we're focused on, what the G7 is focused on, and this is reflected again in our statement and in our conversation, is our de-escalation work.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterress' spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said the UN chief reiterates that it is high time to stop the dangerous cycle of retaliation in the Middle East.

The Secretary-General condemns any acts of retaliation and calls on the international community to work together to prevent any further developments that could have devastating consequences for the entire region and beyond, the statement said.

Iranian news agencies IRNA and Fars said the Islamic republic's air defenses were activated near the central city of Isfahan in response to a projectile. They also reported that explosions were heard in the city's eastern suburbs, but did not specify whether the explosions came from interceptions or ground impacts.

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows the civilian airport and dual-use air base in Isfahan, Iran, April 18, 2024.

The head of Iran's space agency said air defense forces had shot down several drones.

Iranian state media quickly tried to downplay the incident, saying the nuclear facilities in Isfahan were secure. They also said operations at Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport and Mehrabad National Airport returned to normal on Friday, several hours after flights were suspended, apparently in response to the alleged Israeli airstrike.

It would mark the latest salvo in a years-long shadow war between Israel and Iran that has escalated significantly this month. Israel had warned Iran that it would retaliate last Sunday for an unprecedented Iranian air attack on Israeli territory involving hundreds of drones and missiles. Israel said it intercepted almost all of the projectiles with the help of a coalition of Western allies and Arab partners.

Iran had, in turn, warned that any Israeli retaliatory strike would provoke a swift and harsher response.

Ahmed Fouad Alkhatib, Middle East security analyst at the Atlantic Council, told VOA that Iran's quiet response could be an effort to avoid an escalation of confrontation, as long as Tehran's nuclear program is not addressed. not directly targeted.

Some estimates and calculations suggest that Iran may be prepared to absorb and swallow a limited retaliatory strike from Israel. However, strikes against Tehran's nuclear program will significantly intensify the direct confrontation between Iran and Israel, he said.

The United States and other Western powers have urged the Israeli government to avoid an escalation of the conflict when calculating its next action. U.S. officials have said they do not intend for U.S. forces to join Israeli retaliatory actions.

Alkhatib told VOA that the Biden administration understands that Israel must carry out “face-saving” retaliation for Sunday’s Iranian attack.

Any Israeli strike will require U.S. involvement, cooperation, support and ultimate approval – defensively and offensively, casting doubt on the accuracy of the Biden administration's claims that it would not be involved in Israeli retaliation, Alkhatib said.

VOA White House Bureau Chief Patsy Widakuswara, VOA U.N. Correspondent Margaret Besheer, and VOA Kurdish and Persian Services contributed to this report.

Some information for this report was provided by the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.




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