Iran loses most of its ballistic missile launchers in mysterious blasts at the secret Imam Ali Base

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Iran loses most of its ballistic missile launchers in mysterious blasts at the secret Imam Ali Base

A top-secret Iranian Imam Ali Base was struck by a triple blast Tues. Oct. 12. 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.

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 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.

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, Iran's missile arsenal and the Revolutionary Guards have also suffered a devastating blow. Even worse, 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.

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.

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

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.

Now even Iran is admitting something happened.

TEHRAN - Eighteen people were killed in a fire at an ammunition store in a Revolutionary Guards base in Iran, the Fars news agency quoted a commander of the elite force as saying Wednesday in the latest toll.

"In yesterday's explosion at one of the Guards' bases in Lorestan (in western Iran), 18 people were killed and 14 wounded," commander Yadollah Bouali said. He said some of the casualties in Tuesday's blast were workers at the base but did not specify whether they included members of Guards.

On Tuesday, Bouali said the explosion hit when fire spread to the munitions store at the base near the provincial capital Khorramabad.

Iran's Arabic-language Al-Alam television on Tuesday cited a military source it did not identify as saying that "some soldiers" were among the dead at the Imam Ali base.

AT contributor Wesley Clark has a different take:

It's tantalizing to speculate that the Stuxnet worm that affects Siemens process controllers was somehow activated by the "mysterious hand" to accomplish this delightful occurrence, and that more such events may be planned for the future. Even better would it be, if our own warriors were responsible. Of course, they'd never admit it, but it would be a source for some good old-fashioned American pride.

Degrading the enemy's retaliatory capability as this possible intelligence operation has done might indicate that Israel is approaching zero hour in making a decision whether or not to bomb Iran. Certainly, we are talking about a matter of months now - perhaps even weeks - where the window of opportunity for the IDF to strike will be open.

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By netchicken: posted on 18-10-2010

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