Isfahan in Iran declared secure following overnight drone attack

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File photo.

19th April 2024 – (Isfahan) An Israeli official, speaking anonymously, confirmed that Israel conducted an airstrike in Iran on Friday as a response to an Iranian missile and drone attack. The extent of the damage from the strike remains unclear, but the official stated that it was meant to demonstrate Israel’s capacity to target locations within Iran.

Authorities in Isfahan, a central city in Iran, have confirmed that the area remains secure and normal activities have resumed, following reports of explosions near the city’s airport. The Mehr News Agency described the situation as “completely calm and secure,” with footage of early morning traffic flowing smoothly through major intersections. State media reported early Friday that explosions occurred in Isfahan, a central Iranian province that hosts the country’s largest nuclear research complex, according to the Nuclear Threat Initiative. Additionally, the province is home to a military base and Isfahan airport. The state news agency IRNA confirmed that the nuclear facilities in the province remained unharmed.

The unsettling events unfolded just after 4am local time when, according to Iranian state television, three unidentified drones were detected near Isfahan. The city, which hosts an Iranian military airbase not affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards but integral to the nation’s army, saw its air defences promptly respond. The systems successfully intercepted and destroyed the drones in an operation that caused no reported damage.

The airbase, known to house several squadrons of F-14 Tomcat fighter aircraft, is situated close to the civilian airport, prompting a brief suspension of flights. The defence activity led to a temporary clearance of Iranian airspace, affecting not only Isfahan but also other regions including the northwestern city of Tabriz, where air defence mechanisms were similarly activated.

State media has played down the severity of the incident, focusing on the swift return to normalcy. Flights across the country have resumed following a short-lived restriction, with civil aviation authorities lifting bans across most airports. The situation was normalized so swiftly that the Tasnim news agency reported regular operations had resumed at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport by mid-morning.

Despite the disruption, local and national officials have been keen to reassure the public and the international community that the situation is under control. An unnamed senior military official quoted by the ISNA News Agency referred to the explosions as “air defence activity” aimed at “suspicious objects,” confirming that these actions did not result in any casualties or damage.

This incident comes at a tense time in regional politics, noted by the recent exchange of hostilities between Iran and Israel. Iran’s assertive response to the downed drones is seen as a demonstration of its readiness to defend its territory while maintaining normalcy for its citizens. Political and security analysts, including Mohammad Marandi from the University of Tehran, suggest that while the downing of the drones near Isfahan was noteworthy, life in the city has not been significantly disrupted.