Iraq warns against military escalation following Israeli airstrikes on Iran

Iraq warns against military escalation following Israeli airstrikes on Iran

Shafaq News / The Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs cautioned against the risks of military escalation following the Israeli airstrikes on Iran.

The ministry expressed "grave concern over the attack targeting the city of Isfahan in the Islamic Republic of Iran."

It emphasized its continuous monitoring of tensions in the region, warning of the dangers of military escalation threatening security and stability in the area at large.

The ministry clarified that "this escalation should not divert attention from the destruction and loss of innocent lives taking place in the Gaza Strip."

It reiterated its call to the international community to "fulfill its duties and act immediately to halt this suffering."

Earlier on Friday, the Iranian news agency "Fars" reported explosions heard near Isfahan airport in central Iran, with an Iranian source telling Reuters that the air defense system in the Isfahan region had been activated.

Iran announced that the recent explosions in Isfahan were the result of Iranian air defenses successfully targeting and downing three drones over the city. This account, presented by Iranian officials, seeks to deflect blame from external forces, particularly Israel and instead points to internal "infiltrators" as the culprits behind the incident.

An Iranian official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that there is yet to be confirmation regarding any external involvement in the event. The official clarified, "We have not verified any external attack, and our analysis tends towards the likelihood of infiltration rather than an external assault."

In turn, the semiofficial news Agency Tasnim reported today, Friday, citing "informed sources," that "there are no reports of an external attack" in Iran following the explosions heard in the country.

Tasnim also reported that "air defense units were activated in some areas such as Isfahan and Tabriz," the city in the country's north.

The sources added to the agency that "these measures were due to the high sensitivity of air defense systems due to the current situation and the difficulty in detecting some small drones."

In most official Iranian statements and news reports regarding the recent explosions in Isfahan, there was no explicit mention of Israel. The focus instead shifted towards internal factors, with official television broadcasts featuring analysts who expressed skepticism about the scale of the attack.

An analyst on the Iranian official TV channel suggested that the air defenses in Isfahan had successfully intercepted small drones launched by "infiltrators from inside Iran."

Contrary to this narrative, neighboring Iraq has presented different information.

Social media users shared pictures showing the remains of an Israeli missile that was reportedly heading to Iran and fell in the Al-Aziziyah district in Wasit.

The US-funded Al-Hurra channel cited a high-ranking Iraqi security source, revealing that a series of missiles had landed in two Iraqi cities the previous night.

According to the Al-Hurra source, "two Israeli missiles landed in Wasit governorate, adjacent to Iran, while another landed in the Latifiya area south of the capital, Baghdad." The source also indicated that these missile landings were likely due to technical malfunctions.

In contrast, the Security Committee of the Wasit Governorate Council issued a clarification following the controversy of a reported fall of an Israeli missile in the Al-Aziziyah district, north of Nasiriyah.

Moreover, the Jerusalem Post said explosions were heard in Baghdad and Babil Governorate in Iraq.

According to the Israeli Newspaper, residents in Erbil and Mosul in Iraq reported hearing the sounds of fighter jets as well early Friday morning.

Specific details about the nature and targets of these explosions remain unclear, and the Iraqi authorities did not comment on the incident, but a source within the Iraqi Interior Ministry refuted reports of explosions within Iraqi territory.

The source clarified to Shafaq News Agency that "while military radars detected unidentified objects passing over Iraqi airspace, no targeting or explosions were recorded on Iraqi territory."

Moreover, American officials and Israeli local media have attributed the explosions in central Iran to Israel. The Israeli newspaper "Jerusalem Post," citing a government and security source, explicitly stated that Israel was behind the attack.

According to a source cited by Al-Hurra's correspondent in Jerusalem, Israel's response to the reported attack was framed as "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." The source indicated that Israel targeted the location responsible for the alleged attack.

The Jerusalem Post, citing two sources in the Israeli Ministry of Defense, reported that military aircraft launched long-range missiles at an Iranian military base in Isfahan, which contradicted Iran's assertion that drones were involved in the incident.

On Friday, Israel maintained silence regarding the reported attack, while the United States explicitly denied any role.

At a press conference in Italy, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken declined to comment on the matter beyond affirming the United States' commitment to Israel's security. Blinken emphasized that the U.S. did not participate in any offensive operations related to the incident.

Similarly, Israeli army spokesman Avichay Adraee, speaking to Al-Hurra, neither confirmed nor denied Israel's involvement in the attack. Adraee stated, "No comment at this time," leaving the situation surrounding the reported attack and its attribution shrouded in uncertainty.

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