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Israel originally planned major strikes on Iranian bases near Tehran: report

Citing three unnamed Israeli officials, the New York Times reports that Israel had planned a much larger strike on Iran following the latter's retaliatory drones and missiles attack on Israel on 13 April.

The original plan was to hit several targets across Iran, including near Tehran, the capital city.

The report says western pressure and fears of a widening conflict led to Israel opting for a smaller response.

Israeli and western officials told the Times that Israel ended up firing a small number of missiles from aircraft positioned several hundreds of miles west of Iran on Friday, while also sending attack drones to confuse Iranian air defences.

"One missile on Friday hit an [anti-aircraft] battery in a strategically important part of central Iran, while another exploded in [mid-air]," the Times said, citing the officials.

"One Israeli official said that the Israeli Air Force intentionally destroyed the second missile once it became clear that the first had reached its target, to avoid causing too much damage. One western official said it was possible the missile had simply malfunctioned."

The attack was apparently originally planned for Monday, 15 April, but was postponed out of fears that Hezbollah in Lebanon might significantly increase attacks on northern Israel.