Mapped: Where is Isfahan? The target of Israel’s strikes against Iran

Israel has launched a retaliatory attack against Iran overnight, with explosions heard near a major military airbase and nuclear site.

Tehran was forced to activate its air defence system across several provinces, with three drones destroyed over the central city of Isfahan.

There have not been any reports of damage or casualties and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said there was no impact on nuclear facilities - but called for “extreme restraint”.


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A senior Iranian official said Tehran had no plan for immediate retaliation and the source of the attack had not been identified - with explosions blamed on its own air defence batteries.

But where is Isfahan, and why was it targeted? The Independent takes a look below.

Where is Isfahan?

Isfahan is a major city located around 252 miles south of the Iranian capital Tehran. It has a population nearly 2 million and is about 1,200 miles from Tel Aviv, Israel.

It is the third-most populous city in Iran, after Tehran and Mashhad, and the second-largest metropolitan area, according to Iranian media.

It is understood there are several nuclear experimental reactors as well as uranium conversion facilities (UCF) in the area - which Tehran claims is for civilian use, but Israel fears could be used for the development of nuclear weapons.

Flights in Tehran, Isfahan and Shiraz were suspended for over two hours (FlightRadar)
Flights in Tehran, Isfahan and Shiraz were suspended for over two hours (FlightRadar)

Why was it a target?

It is unclear what was targeted as the Israeli military declined to comment and Iran has given no indication of what was hit or who was responsible.

But it is home to a large airbase, a major missile production complex and several nuclear facilities. In 2023, Iran’s defence minister visited Hesa Air Base to tour the roll-out of Yasin training jet - a new type of aircraft designed for the Iranian military.

It has also been suggested Shahed Aviation Industries is located in Isfahan - which manufactures Iran’s signature drones used in Tehran’s attack on Israel. They are also often used by Russia in Ukraine.

Earlier this week, Israel vowed to “respond” to Iran’s unprecedent attack - with some suggestions of targeting military infrastructure.