Satellite photos show damage at a site in Iran hit by a drone strike | News

Iran blamed Israel for the attack in Isfahan last week, threatening to reignite tensions in the region.

Analysis of satellite images appears to show damage to an Iranian military facility in a drone strike last week, including holes in the building’s roof, according to the Associated Press news agency.

Cloudy weather prevented satellite images of the facility’s location from showing the effect of the January 28 attack.

Although Iran has yet to offer any explanation for what the facility in the city of Isfahan produced, the attack threatened to reignite tensions in the region, with Tehran blaming Israel for the drone attack, a conclusion shared by United States officials.

Video of the attack showed an explosion at the site after anti-aircraft fire targeted the drones, possibly from one of the drones reaching the roof of the building. Iran’s military claimed to have shot down two more drones before they arrived at the site.

This Planet Labs PBC satellite image shows damage to the roof of an Iranian military workshop, center, after a drone strike in Isfahan, Iran, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. Satellite photos analyzed by The Associated Press on Friday show damage to what Iran described as a military workshop attacked by Israeli drones, the latest such attack amid a shadow war between the two countries.  (Planet Labs PBC via AP)
This Planet Labs PBC satellite image appears to show damage to the roof of an Iranian military facility, center, after a drone strike in Isfahan, Iran [Planet Labs PBC via AP Photo]

Images taken Thursday by Planet Labs PBC show the facility in Isfahan, some 350 km (215 miles) south of Tehran. AP analysis of the image, compared to earlier images of the workshop, showed damage to the building’s roof.

That damage matches footage broadcast by Iranian state television immediately after the attack showing at least two holes in the building’s roof.

Iranian state television footage, as well as satellite photos, suggest the building’s roof may also have been constructed of so-called “slatted armor.”

The structure resembles a cage built around the roofs or armored vehicles to stop the direct detonation of rockets, missiles or bomb-carrying drones against a target.

The installation of such protection at the facility suggests that Iran believed it could be a drone target.

Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence claimed in July to have foiled a plot targeting sensitive locations around Isfahan.

A segment aired on Iranian state TV in October included alleged confessions by alleged members of Komala, a Kurdish opposition party exiled from Iran and now based in Iraq, in which they said they planned to target a military air base in Isfahan after being trained by foreign Israeli intelligence service Mossad.

It remains unclear whether the military facility that was the target of the drone attack was that aerospace facility.

A letter released Thursday by Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, Amir Saeid Iravani, said early investigations suggested Israel was responsible. The letter, however, does not specify what evidence supports Iran’s suspicion.

Constant attacks

In the past few years, several explosions and fires have occurred around Iran’s military, nuclear and industrial facilities.

Iran blamed Israel for the 2020 assassination of its top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, as well as an April 2021 attack on its underground Natanz nuclear facility that damaged its centrifuges.

The attack comes at a time when the Iranian government is facing challenges at home and abroad.

National protests have rocked the country since the September death of Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian woman detained by state morality police. Its rial currency also fell to new lows against the US dollar.

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