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Reported Israeli cyberattack caused Iran nuclear site fire, following alleged April cyber attack by Iran on Israel

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A Kuwaiti newspaper cited an ‘unnamed senior source’ as saying Israel was behind recent incidents in Iran, following an alleged attempt by Tehran to hack Israel’s water infrastructure

Israel was responsible for two blasts at Iranian facilities — one related to uranium enrichment, the other for missile production — over the past week, the Kuwaiti newspaper reported Friday.

Natanz

The Al-Jareeda daily cited an unnamed senior source as saying that an Israeli cyberattack caused a fire & explosion at the largely underground Natanz nuclear enrichment facility in the pre-dawn hours of last Thursday morning.

According to the source, this was expected to set back Iran’s nuclear enrichment program by roughly 2 months.

Neither of these claims were confirmed by Israeli officials.

Satellite Images

The site of the fire corresponds to a newly opened centrifuge production facility, said Fabian Hinz, a researcher at the James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California. He said he relied on satellite images and a state TV program on the facility to locate the building, which sits in Natanz’s northwest corner.

David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security similarly said the fire struck the production facility. His institute previously wrote a report on the new plant, identifying it from satellite pictures while it was under construction and later built.

Nuclear Officials

Iranian nuclear officials did not respond to a request for comment about the analysts’ comments.

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran sought to downplay the fire, calling it an “incident” that only affected an under-construction “industrial shed,” spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said. However, both Kamalvandi & Iranian Nuclear Chief Ali Akbar Salehi rushed after the fire to Natanz, which has been targeted in sabotage campaigns in the past.

Thwarted

The reported Israeli strike followed an alleged Iranian attempt to hack into Israel’s water infrastructure in April, an effort that was thwarted by Israeli cyber defences, but if successful could have introduced dangerous levels of chlorine into the Israeli water supply & otherwise seriously interrupted the flow of water throughout Israel.

Ultimately, the alleged Iranian cyberattack caused few issues, according to Israeli officials.

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