In a significant development, the Israeli military has carried out targeted missile strikes against Iran, according to a senior U.S. military official who spoke with NPR on Thursday. These strikes come in the wake of heightened tensions between the two nations and are believed to be a direct response to an Iranian attack earlier this week.

On Sunday, Tehran launched a barrage of hundreds of drones and missiles toward Israel. Fortunately, most of Iran’s projectiles were either intercepted or caused minimal damage. However, the incident prompted Israel to retaliate, as it had previously vowed. The U.S. military official, speaking anonymously, confirmed the Israeli strikes.

Iran’s state news agency, IRNA, reported that Brigadier General Mihan Dost, a military official in the central Iranian city of Isfahan, attributed loud sounds heard east of the city to air defenses intercepting a “suspicious target.” Fortunately, no damage was reported in the area.

Interestingly, Iranian news outlets have not acknowledged any such strike. Instead, they maintain that the sounds near Isfahan were the result of intercepting one or more drones. Israel’s military has yet to respond to NPR’s request for comment, leaving the situation somewhat ambiguous.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has taken to social media to confirm that Iran’s nuclear sites remain unharmed. However, the extent of Israel’s strikes and the specific weapons used remain unclear.

Meanwhile, Israel’s hardline National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, expressed his dissatisfaction with the latest apparent strike against Iran. In a post on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), he labeled the attack as “weak” and criticized its limited impact.

The international community, including the U.S. and other Western allies, has been urging Israel to exercise restraint and avoid actions that could escalate regional tensions. This cautionary stance stems from concerns that further military engagements could exacerbate the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

Notably, tensions escalated earlier this month when an airstrike, attributed to Israel by Iran, resulted in the deaths of two Iranian military commanders at the country’s consulate in Damascus, Syria. Iran cited this incident as the motivation behind Sunday’s attack on Israel.

The entire region remains on edge, with the specter of wider conflict looming. Frequent exchanges of fire between Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah along the northern Israeli border have added to the volatility. Additionally, Houthi militants, also backed by Iran, have targeted international commercial vessels passing through the Red Sea in recent months. Their leaders claim that these actions are in response to Israel’s ongoing invasion of Gaza, which has already claimed thousands of lives, according to Gaza health officials.

As the situation continues to evolve, the delicate balance between deterrence and escalation remains a critical concern for all parties involved.