Iran has been subjected to airstrikes. The U.S. calls them an Israeli attack

Israel has launched a strike on Iran, a US official says. The Israeli army did not comment on it, Iranian officials did not name the source of the attack. Earlier, Iran promised to respond to the Israeli strike “at the maximum level”.

Washington did not disclose the details and scale of the Israeli operation. Also, the US said it did not take part in the attack, as it had promised earlier. The strikes on Iran were reported by Israeli, Iranian and US media.

What Iran is saying

Iranian state media reported that three “mini-drones” were shot down over Isfahan, which houses nuclear facilities and an army base, in the early morning hours. According to official reports, there was no destruction and the nuclear infrastructure was not damaged (the latter confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency). There were also explosions in the skies above Tabriz. Domestic Iranian flights were canceled, visitors were evacuated from the airport in Tehran.

Reuters, citing two sources, writes that the drones were launched from the territory of Iran itself. “The foreign source of the incident has not been confirmed. We have not received any external attack and so far we are leaning more towards an infiltration than an attack”, a senior Iranian official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. CNN, citing an anonymous regional intelligence source, writes that Iran will not respond to the strikes. Direct strikes between Israel and Iran are “over”, he said.

On the eve of the attack, Iran said it would respond to the Israeli strike at the “maximum level” – unlike Sunday’s attack, which was a “minimal response”. Back then, Iran fired about three hundred rockets and drones at Israel (almost all of which were shot down). That attack was in turn a response to Israel’s April 1 strike on the Iranian consulate in Syria, which killed senior officials.

“If the Israeli regime makes a big mistake once again, our response will be decisive, final and regrettable for them”, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said yesterday, April 18.

What Israel is saying

The Jerusalem Post, citing Israeli security and government sources, writes that Israel will not take responsibility for strikes on Iran “for strategic reasons”. “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Israel retaliated the way it was attacked”, the newspaper’s interlocutor said. The newspaper’s sources do not understand why the US disclosed Israel’s involvement in the attack.

Also Israeli media reported that today, April 19, Israel struck targets in Iraq and Syria – in both countries there were indeed explosions. Syrian media said Israel hit an air defense system in the south of the country with missiles – there are “material losses”. The Israeli army told CNN it does not comment on foreign media reports.

What the US says

US media write that Israel warned Washington in advance of the strike on Iran and assured that it would not hit nuclear facilities. Earlier, US President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the US, although it helped Israel in repelling the Iranian attack on Sunday, April 14, would not participate in the counterstrike. Also, the US urged Israel not to respond militarily so as not to escalate the conflict in the Middle East.

How other countries are responding

The strikes on Iran were discussed this morning at a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Italy. “In light of the reported strikes on April 19, we call on all parties to work to prevent further escalation. The G7 will continue to work in this direction”, the ministers said in a statement.

European Commission Chairwoman Ursula von der Leyen and the Australian government also urged to refrain from escalating the conflict. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia has conveyed to Israel that Iran does not want escalation.

Oman, which plays a mediating role in the Middle East, condemned the Israeli attack on Iran as well as “repeated Israeli military attacks in the region”. Egypt is “deeply concerned” about the escalation of hostilities between Israel and Iran.

China said it will “continue to play a constructive role in de-escalating” the conflict in the Middle East. China is Iran’s largest trading partner and a major buyer of its sanctioned oil. The US has repeatedly urged Beijing to use its influence over Tehran to reduce tensions in the region.

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