Over the weekend, Israel launched drone strikes on a defense compound in Iran. Iranian officials said the compound was an ammunition factory.
According to Iranian media, at least one drone was taken down by air defenses, but two more struck the facility. Iranian media said there were no injuries, and the damage to the building was minimal.
However, some intelligence analysts said the small size of the blast indicates the facility wasn’t an ammunition factory, but perhaps a lab or military logistics site. Satellite imagery shows the defense compound is across the street from an Iran Space Research Center facility. The U.S. sanctioned Iran’s Space Research Center over its connection to the country’s ballistic missile program.
Also over the weekend, a massive fire erupted at an Iranian oil refinery in Tabriz. It’s unclear whether the fire is related to the drone strike at the defense compound.
The strikes on the Iranian defense compound come at a time of mounting tension between Iran and the West. Iran supplied Russia with hundreds of drones which are being used against civilian targets in Ukraine. In addition, Iran and Israel are essentially engaged in a shadow war over Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
Up until now, Israel hasn’t really taken a stance in the Ukraine war, because Russia lets Israel bomb Iranian targets in Syria. While Israel isn’t expected to offer Ukraine direct military support, more covert strikes like the ones carried out over the weekend could be more common.
Mark Dubowitz is the CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. When speaking about Israel’s strikes against Iran, he said, “This is a smart trifecta where Israel can hurt Iran, help Ukraine, and not risk its strategic interests in Syria or run the risk of the diversion of its sensitive military technology to Russia and into Iran.”
Reuters contributed to this report.