According to state television on Friday, Iran’s security forces have detained the “principal perpetrators” of a drone strike on a military facility in the city of Isfahan that included Israeli “mercenaries.”
Iran has claimed responsibility for the drone attack on January 29 and vowed retaliation for what appeared to be the most recent development in a protracted clandestine conflict.
The incident took place in the midst of unrest at home and tensions between Iran and the West over Tehran’s nuclear program, its provision of weapons, including long-range “suicide drones,” for Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“The main perpetrators of the unsuccessful attempt to sabotage a Defense Ministry industrial center in Isfahan…, have been identified and arrested,” the state news agency IRNA said. “So far, the involvement of mercenaries of the …Zionist regime (Israel) in that act has been proven.”
Arch-foe Israel has long said it is willing to strike Iranian targets if diplomacy fails to curb Tehran’s nuclear or missile programmes, but does not comment on specific incidents.
“Due to the ongoing interrogations of the accused who are in custody, additional information will be published at the appropriate time,” said a statement issued by Iran’s security agencies.
Iran has accused Israel in the past of planning attacks using agents inside Iranian territory.
In July, Tehran said it had arrested a sabotage team of Kurdish militants working for Israel who planned to blow up a “sensitive” defense industry center in Isfahan.
Isfahan Province is home to a number of nuclear facilities, including Natanz, the focal point of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, which Israel is said to have sabotaged in 2021. In recent years, there have been several explosions and fires near Iranian industrial, nuclear, and military sites.