Iran says it shot down drones as regional tensions flare. How did we ...

28 days ago

CNN  — 

An unclaimed aerial attack in central Iran on Friday comes fresh on the heels of tit-for-tat Iranian and Israeli strikes earlier this month, marking a potentially dangerous escalation of the Middle East conflict.

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Israel carried out the strike inside Iran Friday morning, a US official told CNN.

Iranian officials have so far sought to play down the incident, and Israel has not claimed responsibility for what appears to be the latest salvo fired as a decades-long shadow war between the two countries emerges into the open – ratcheting up fears of an escalation into a wider regional war.

Iranian air defenses intercepted three drones, a Tehran official said Friday, after reports of explosions near an army base in the central province of Isfahan. There were no reports of a missile attack, Iran’s National Cyberspace Center spokesperson Hossein Dalirian said on social platform X.

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A loud blast near Isfahan city was caused by “air defense firing at a suspicious object,” a senior Iranian military commander said, adding there was no “damage or incident,” according to the state-aligned Tasnim news agency.

All facilities around Isfahan were secure, including significant nuclear sites, Iranian media reported. The United Nations nuclear watchdog confirmed no Iranian nuclear sites were damaged.

The attack on Iran follows an unprecedented Iranian assault on Israel last weekend that Tehran said was retaliation for a deadly suspected Israeli airstrike on Iran’s consulate in Syria on April 1. The reprisals marked the first time the Islamic Republic had launched a direct assault on Israel from its soil.

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In the wake of Iran’s retaliatory attack, countries including the United States called for restraint from Israel to prevent an escalation, as Israel’s ongoing war against Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza has already sent tensions between it and its neighbors soaring.

The US “didn’t green light” an Israeli response, another senior US official told CNN. Prior to Friday’s strike, the US expectation was that Israel would not target civilian or nuclear facilities, the second US official said.

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