Israel defence minister says 2007 Syria strike message to enemies

22 March, 2018, 01:30 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Israeli pilot who took part in attack on Syrian nuclear reactor

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, commenting Wednesday on the country's admission that it was responsible for the destruction in 2007 of a Syrian nuclear reactor, said, "Israel's policy was and is consistent: impeding our enemies from arming themselves with nuclear weapons".

Israeli intelligence had picked up on what it determined was the construction of the nuclear reactor and followed its development, it says.

Syria has on numerous occasions slammed the Western countries for supplying Israel with nuclear materials in a blatant violation of the NPT and even helping it to keep its nuclear activities secret.

The raid on Syria marked the second time Israel's military has destroyed the nuclear power generation capabilities of a neighbor in the region.

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Syria had denied it was building a nuclear reactor but the United Nations nuclear watchdog said the site was "very likely" to be a nuclear reactor and the North Koreans could have been helping to build it.

That was the codeword Israeli pilots sent around 1 a.m. September 6, 2007, indicating success in a secret bombing run deep into Syria to destroy a nuclear reactor under the control of the Assad government.

The Israeli army said its helicopter intercepted an Iranian drone launched from within Syria and that the Israeli Air Force hit Iranian targets in Syria.

It could also be meant as a warning to archenemy Iran, which is deeply involved in Syria's conflict. Now the Israelis have promised not to permit the appearance of nuclear weapons in Iran and speaks of its readiness, if necessary, to act alone. "And that is the message to our enemies for the future", IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot said in a video statementregarding the 2007 bombing released Wednesday by the IDF.

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The Deir ez-Zor area of Syria was in the hands of the Islamic State for two years beginning in May 2015.

Israel concluded that the reactor had been under construction with North Korean help and was months away from activation.

Dagan was convinced that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would not retaliate - as long as he wasn't publicly humiliated. Israeli F-16 and F-15 warplanes conducted the strike.

Known as Operation Orchard (or "Operation Outside the Box" in Hebrew), the attack was the culmination of several years of precise intelligence gathering by the Mossad and the IDF Intelligence Corps, which first suspected in 2004 that President Assad was secretly developing a nuclear option. He was released on parole in June of a year ago after serving 16 and a half months of a 27-month sentence for corruption and obstruction of justice.

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