Blasts hit secret Iranian missile launching-pad for US, Israeli targets

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Neil, Oct 19, 2010.

  1. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

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    Iranian military installation was struck by a triple blast Tues. Oct. 12 the day before Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Lebanon. debkafile's military and intelligence sources report the site held most of the Shehab-3 medium-range missile launchers Iran had stocked for striking US forces in Iraq and Israel in the event of war - some set to deliver triple warheads (tri-conic nosecones).

    The 18 soldiers officially reported killed in the blasts and 14 injured belonged to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) main missile arm, the Al-Hadid Brigades.
    The Imam Ali Base where the explosion occurred is situated in lofty Zagros mountain country near the town of Khorramabad in the western Iranian province of Lorestan. This site was selected for an altitude which eases precise targeting and the difficulty of reaching it for air or ground attack. It lies 400 kilometers from Baghdad and primary American bases in central Iraq and 1,250 kilometers from Tel Aviv and central Israel. Both are well within the Shehab-3 missile's 1,800-2,500-kilometer operational range.

    Our Iranian sources report that Tehran spent hundreds of millions to build one of the largest subterranean missile launching facilities of its kind in the Middle East or Europe. Burrowed under the Imam Ali Base is a whole network of wide tunnels deep underground. Somehow, a mysterious hand rigged three blasts in quick succession deep inside those tunnels, destroying a large number of launchers and causing enough damage to render the facility unfit for use.
    In its official statement on the incident, Tehran denied it was the result of "a terrorist attack" and claimed the explosion "was caused by a nearby fire that spread to the munitions storage area of the base." In the same way, the regime went to great lengths to cover up the ravages wrought to their nuclear and military control systems by the Stuxnet virus - which is still at work.
    In actual fact, debkafile's military sources report, Iran's missile arsenal and the Revolutionary Guards have also suffered a devastating blow. Worst of all, all their experts are a loss to account for the assailants' ability to penetrate one of Iran's most closely guarded bases and reach deep underground to blow up the missile launchers.

    The number of casualties is believed to be greater than the figure given out by Tehran.

    The soldiers' funerals took place Thursday, Oct. 14, as the same time as Ahmadinejad declared in South Lebanon that Israel was destined to "disappear." A few later, he ended his contentious two-day visit to Lebanon.

    This week, Aviation Week discovered that the new intermediate-range BM-25 Musudan ballistic missile exhibited at the North Korean military parade Sunday Oct. 10 - at which Kim Jong-II also paraded his son and heir - bore a strong resemblance to the Iranian Shehab-3.

    It is therefore possible that the explosions at the IRGC base in Lorestan Tuesday also sabotaged secret models of the Iran's latest road-mobile, liquid-fuel version of the Shehab-3 ballistic missile.
     
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  3. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

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    The Big Bang?

    A 3-D view of missile silos at the Imam Ali missile base near Khorramabad, Iran. The complex was reportedly damaged by a series of underground explosions this week (Google Earth photo via IMINT & Analysis)

    While world attention has been focused on the recent copper mine rescue in Chile, there was (reportedly) another underground event-of-note, this one in Iran.

    Israel-based DEBKAfile reports that a series of blasts occurred on Tuesday at the underground Iranian missile base near Khorramabad. While DEBKA's accuracy is sometimes spotty, the story--if true--is certainly compelling, and suggests that the covert war against Iran has entered a new phase.

    Intelligence sources (almost certainly Israeli) tell DEBKA that three blasts hit underground facilities at the Imam Ali Base on Tuesday, the day before Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadiejad arrived in Lebanon. Interestingly, Tehran has acknowledge that a mishap took place at the missile facility, blaming it on a "fire" that spread to a munitions storage facility. Officially, Iran says that 18 soldiers--all members of the Revolutionary Guards--were killed in the blasts and 14 others were injured. Western intelligence officials believe the death toll was actually much higher.

    Reports of underground explosions at Khorramabad immediately caught our attention. It was one of the first facilities built to support the Shahab-3, the first Iranian ballistic system capable of striking targets in Israel. Intelligence analysts believe at least 15 Shahab-3s are stationed at the Iman Ali Base, along with an unknown number of mobile launchers. Much of missile maintenance and storage activity at the installation is conducted underground, making it difficult for western intelligence to determine how many missiles are in garrison at any given time, and the overall operational posture of the Shahab-3 unit.

    Security at the base is extremely tight, and the underground chambers are (presumably) equipped with blast doors, sprinkler systems and other protective measures. That makes the explosions even more remarkable. Assuming that DEBKA is correct, the Iranians must concede that one of their most important missile bases was crippled by an act of sabotage.

    Readers will also note that no one (so far) has claimed responsibility for the blasts. In terms of the usual suspects, you can probably rule out Iranian opposition groups. Generally speaking, they lack the resources to carry out that sort of strike; besides, if one of those groups was behind the strike, they would likely claim credit, to enhance their stature within opposition community and score propaganda points at the expense of the Iranian regime.

    It's also doubtful the CIA was behind the incident. We can't imagine the Obama Administration using the agency's covert operations assets to stage such a provocative attack against the Tehran regime--the same government it has been trying to court diplomatically (without success) for the past two years.

    On the other hand, the Israel's Mossad certainly has the assets, the skill and the willingness to strike key Iranian targets. And, it certainly fits with the recent pattern of mysterious attacks against Tehran's WMD programs and delivery systems. Earlier this year, computer networks at key facilities--including Iranian nuclear complexes--were hit with a crippling cyber attack, using the Stuxnet worm. Now, one of its medium-range missile bases has been damaged in a daring strike. Operatives somehow penetrated the installation's multiple layers of security, then planted and detonated bombs that destroyed some of Iran's most important military assets.

    Again, assuming the DEBKA report is correct, the counter-intelligence folks in Tehran must be going crazy. Stuxnet was bad enough; now a potentially crippling strike at a Shahab-3 base. The mullahs aren't happy, and they want answers--now. Look for a wave of arrests in the coming days, aimed largely at placating senior officials.

    As readers will recall, there was a similar round-up in the wake of Stuxnet. According to state-run media, a number of "cyber-terrorists" were arrested by Iranian security officials, but the computer attacks have continued. Part of that reflects the nature of cyber-warfare; once unleashed, it's hard to get the genie back in the bottle.

    But experts have also noted that once the malware is unleashed (typically through a flash drive or other external device), the scope of that particular infection is limited. Just one more indication that Stuxnet is not your typical bit of malware, but a brilliantly-designed--and executed--cyber strike. And, as the infections continue, Iran can only wonder how many more "terrorists" are out there, waiting to plug a flash drive into a targeted system.

    And who might be waiting to blow up Bakhtaran, or some other missile base. Bakhtaran is the Shahab-3 facility with the "hole in the roof," allowing covert launches from inside its underground complex. Damaging Iran's "bolt-from-the-blue" capability might be the next move in this unconventional war.

    Iran has constructed silos at the Imam Ali base in recent years, ostensibly for the basing and protection of Shahab-3s. At this point it's unclear how many of those silos house missiles; if any of the silos were targeted by the blast, and the number of missiles damaged or destroyed.

    http://formerspook.blogspot.com/
     
  4. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    whats the real source of this news ????Debka?????
     
  5. Neil

    Neil Senior Member Senior Member

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    yeah but even a blog has confirmed it so thought it might be authentic.....
     

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