An Israeli air force plane flew low over Iran on Sunday, before dropping bombs on Iranian-held territory in an attempt to cripple Tehran’s nuclear facilities, Israeli officials said.
A small Israeli drone was seen flying low over Tehran early on Sunday morning, but did not carry out any sort of attack, said Israeli officials.
The drone was spotted by an Israeli pilot at the height of the morning rush hour in the southern city of Safed, one of Israel’s main cities and a strategic buffer against Iran.
A second Israeli drone also flew low above Iran in the same area, but the pilot did not attempt to intercept it.
The two drones were part of Israel-Iran military coordination and were meant to target Iranian facilities, including a uranium enrichment facility and an underground nuclear enrichment site, said an Israeli official who asked not to be identified.
A third drone was also spotted in the area but did nothing, the official said.
An Iranian foreign ministry spokesman, Mohammad Baqeri, said Israel’s actions were “an attempt to destabilize the region”.
He said Iran will retaliate against Israel’s “criminal and illegal actions”.
Iranian media reported Israeli raids on the site and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards on Sunday.
Iran’s state television also said that Israel had bombed the site.
Iranian state television said Israeli drones had flown low over the city of Khamenei and dropped bombs on its nuclear facilities in the city on Sunday afternoon.
Tehran has previously said that Israeli aircraft are using reconnaissance drones to spy on its facilities.
Israel’s military said it has a policy of not using drones to target its targets.
A military official said the operation would be over after the first two aircraft were destroyed.
The official, who was not authorised to speak to the media and demanded anonymity, said it would be possible to confirm the details of the operation with the Israeli military.
“This operation will end after the second aircraft are destroyed,” he said.
Iran, the world’s leading exporter of uranium and the worlds most populous nation, has repeatedly denied Israeli allegations that it is working with Israel to develop nuclear weapons.
Israel says it has no plans to build nuclear weapons and is merely seeking to prevent the spread of a nuclear-armed Iran.
Israel fears that a nuclear Iran could become a threat to the world and the Jewish state, with nuclear weapons being a potential precursor to a global thermonuclear war.
Israel has repeatedly said that it will not seek to acquire nuclear weapons, but has refused to give assurances that Tehran will not pursue them.
In recent years, Israel has built an advanced missile defence system that can intercept incoming ballistic missiles, as well as several submarines that can attack any target in the region.