Multiple news reports surfaced during the early morning hours on Thursday inside Israel saying that large explosions have been heard inside the nation and that air raid sirens have sounded off near Israel’s Dimona nuclear facility in the southern Israeli district of Abu Qrenat.
“Abu Qrenat is deeper within Israeli territory than the usual range of the rockets of Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip,” Reuters reported. “Israeli media have said for weeks that air defenses in the area of Dimona and the Red Sea port Eilat were being beefed up in anticipation of a possible long-range missile or drone attack by Iranian-backed forces – perhaps from as far away as Yemen.”
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported that a surface-to-air missile was fired from Syria to Israel’s southern Negev region, which is a desert. “In response, we struck the battery from which the missile was launched and additional surface-to-air batteries in Syria,” the IDF said. Abu Qrenat is located inside Negev.
The attack comes after an attack was launched 10 days ago against Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility that was widely attributed to Israel. The attack came as Iran continued to enrich uranium with new centrifuges that were made after Israel severely damaged the facility last year in an operation targeting the site.
The Times of Israel reported on Saturday:
An Iranian newspaper affiliated with the country’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei published an editorial Saturday calling on the government to strike Israel’s nuclear facility in Dimona in response to the recent attack on the Islamic Republic’s Natanz nuclear site, which was widely attributed to Israel.
“Unfortunately, by announcing that Iran will install more advanced centrifuges at the damaged facility and that it will increase uranium enrichment to 60 percent, the president [Hassan Rouhani] has effectively announced that Iran will not respond proportionally to the attack at all,” regional analyst Saadullah Zarai wrote. “It is the clear position of this author that the appropriate response to the Natanz incident — based on [the concept of] an eye for an eye and based on the policy of creating a security deterrence — should be action against the [Israeli] nuclear facility in Dimona. This is because no other action is at the same level as the Natanz incident.”
The strike on Natanz comes as Democrat President Joe Biden has drawn widespread criticism for aggressively pursuing Iran to re-enter the Obama administration’s nuclear deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Biden has been accused of squandering U.S. leverage over Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, in his pursuit of the nuclear deal.
The non-partisan Foundation for Defense of Democracies recently released a new tracker to monitor the Biden administration’s foreign policy actions. The first report from FDD’s Biden Administration Foreign Policy Tracker said that the administration was trending “very negative” when it comes to Iran.
The report stated:
On the eve of indirect nuclear talks between the United States and Iran, the Biden administration reportedly collapsed on two major negotiating positions that date back to the 2020 presidential campaign – handing Iran strategic victories before talks even commenced. President Biden had vowed not to provide Iran with sanctions relief prior to Iran’s return to “strict compliance” with the 2015 nuclear deal, yet his administration reportedly offered Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for only modest nuclear concessions. Additionally, while Secretary Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January that it was not in the U.S. interest to lift terrorism sanctions on Iran – specifically terrorism sanctions imposed on the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) – the Biden administration is reportedly offering Iran sanctions relief for both the CBI and NIOC. The administration now claims that many sanctions imposed on Iranian entities for supporting terrorism are not “legitimate,” and that any terrorism, human rights, or missile sanctions deemed “inconsistent” with the nuclear deal will be lifted – a stunning change to the terms of the agreement, which the Obama administration claimed allowed the United States to impose sanctions for non-nuclear reasons.
This article has been expanded after publication to include additional information.
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