Shadow War: Israel’s Unusual Response to Iran Explosion

Why did Israel leak a secret intelligence assessment on Iran, and will recent explosion at sensitive military site trigger Iranian retaliation?

explosion
Mysterious Iran explosion (Archive photo: Pixabay)

On Friday, a leading Israeli newspaper carried an unusual report. It said that Israel’s intelligence community concluded that a huge explosion near Tehran and a power outage in Shiraz on the night of June 25 were accidents, not cyber strikes.

Earlier, several observers speculated that the incidents were the result of a cyberattack.

Israel’s conclusion is based on an evaluation of various sources, veteran journalist Ronen Bergman reported in Yediot Aharonot daily. According to the report, Israel also made inquiries with US intelligence officials.

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So what prompted Israel to leak an intelligence assessment that would normally remain secret? The move appears to be a creative attempt to deny Israeli involvement in the recent explosion and power outage. Instead of issuing an official denial, the news report served as an indirect message from the Israeli government.

Will Iran Respond to Explosion?

But was the report accurate? Not necessarily. One possibility is that the leak is part of Israel’s ongoing campaign of psychological warfare. Iran may hold conflicting information about an Israeli link to the recent incidents, and the latest leak could add to the confusion.

Another option is that Israel is concerned about Iranian retaliation or is seeing indications that a major response is forthcoming. Notably, defense officials have been preparing for a significant Iranian attack for some time now, and may believe that the threat is now growing.

The latest reports:

By essentially denying involvement in the blast, Israeli officials may be trying to avert a strike. Although this denial is not official, it may still provide Iran with an excuse to avoid any dramatic action. Yet one way or another, the IDF and security services remain on high alert for an Iranian revenge attack.