Israel says 2007 strike on Syrian nuclear reactor a message to Iran

Israeli pilot who took part in attack on Syrian nuclear reactor

Israeli pilot who took part in attack on Syrian nuclear reactor

Breaking more than a decade of silence, the Israeli military announced Wednesday that it had carried out an airstrike in northeastern Syria back in 2007, destroying the Syrian government's nuclear reactor.

The operation "sends a clear message: Israel will never allow nuclear weapons to countries like Iran who threaten its existence", he tweeted.

Eight F-15 fighter jets bombed the site, while the whole four-hour operation was watched remotely by senior Israeli government officials, including then prime minister Ehud Olmert.

It is the second time that Israel has acknowledged destroying the nuclear reactor of an enemy country.

Israel said the air raid in the eastern Deir-al-Zour region in 2007 had removed "an emerging existential threat to Israel and the entire region".

In the years before the strike, the military statement said, Israel got information that foreign experts and North Korea were helping Syria build a reactor to manufacture plutonium.

Israel's confirmation of its 2007 raid could be as much a warning to Trump as to Iran, said Ronen Bergman, author of "Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations", a book published in January that touches on the 2007 bombing.

"The Syrian government regrets the campaign of lies and falsification by the USA administration against Syria, including allegations of nuclear activity", said a government statement issued on the Syrian state news agency.

James Jeffrey, Bush's deputy national security adviser, said on Wednesday the former U.S. president had been "absolutely supportive" of Israel. The strike against the nuclear plant shows that "when Israel is left alone, it reacts and with extreme force", he added.

Air force commander Major General Amikam Norkin said the current turmoil in Syria had further vindicated the strike, particularly since the reactor was in an area later captured by Islamic State militants.

"The worldwide community must know that Israel will always protect the security of its citizens and take all necessary steps in the face of threats in our region", said Danon.

The mission to destroy the reactor started at 10:30 p.m. on September 5 and ended with the return of the warplanes at 2:30 a.m. the next day, the Israeli military said.

"This was our message in 2007, this remains our message today and will continue to be our message in the near and distant future".

Israel has sought to avoid direct involvement in the Syrian civil war that broke out in 2011, but it acknowledges carrying out dozens of air strikes there to stop what it says are advanced arms deliveries to Lebanese group Hezbollah.

In 2008 the United States presented what it described as intelligence showing that North Korea had helped Syria with "covert nuclear activities".

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.