An unnamed Iranian official threatened the State of Israel on Monday in response to a drone attack overnight Saturday into Sunday (Jan. 28-29) on a missile production facility in the central Iranian city of Isfahan.
The site that was targeted was reportedly a factory that produced and stockpiled Iranian ballistic missiles, according to a report Sunday by Israel’s Channel 12 News. Explosions were also reported in the cities of Raj and Madan, according to unofficial sources quoted in the report.
Other reports claimed Iranian Shahed-136 kamikaze drones — used by Russia in its war against Ukraine — were being produced at the site.
The Iranian official warned Israel “not to play with fire,” and threatened retaliation over Israel’s reported involvement in the attack, according to Al Jazeera.
“The first indications point to Israeli involvement in the attack on Isfahan but the investigation must continue,” the official was quoted as saying.
Israel has made no comment on the strike, which Iran claimed was thwarted by its aerial defense system. However, The New York Times published an article Sunday quoting senior US intelligence officials who said Israel’s international Mossad intelligence agency was behind the strike. Similar reports were published by CNN and Reuters.
In response to a report by the Saudi Al Hadath news site claiming the United States and another unnamed country – not Israel — were behind the strike, Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder issued a statement firmly denying that US military forces took part.
“Israel knows very well that it will receive a response, as happened in the past,” the Iranian official told Al Jazeera. “Those who play with fire are the first to get burned if they decide to start a regional war.”
Iran’s medium-range Shahab ballistic missile – which has a range long enough to strike Israel — is also produced in Isfahan.
The Israel Defense Forces raised its readiness level in anticipation of a possible Iranian response to the strike, which it is believed could involve a missile or drone attack launched from Syria or Yemen, according to a report Monday by Israel’s Channel 11 KAN News public broadcaster.
In addition, the Israeli defense establishment is preparing for the possibility that Iran will attack Israeli tourists traveling around the world.