2018-03-28 / Mideast

Israel acknowledges it destroyed reactor

The Israel Defense Forces acknowledged that in 2007 it destroyed a nuclear reactor in its last stages of construction in northeastern Syria.

The news was released after the IDF Military Censor cleared it for publication, 10 1/2 years after the attack took place.

Israeli media has been unable to report on the overnight Sept. 5 and 6 bombing of the Al-Kibar nuclear reactor in the Deir ez-Zor area of Syria, though it has been reported on for the last decade in international media, including a detailed article by David Makovsky published in the New Yorker in 2012. Until last week, Israel had neither confirmed nor denied that it bombed the reactor.

Israeli media reported that part of the reason for the lifting of the reporting ban is that both Ehud Olmert, who was prime minister at the time of the attack, and Ehud Barak, who was his defense minister, have written about the attack and their role in making the decision in their newly published memoirs.

It is the second time that Israel has acknowledged destroying the nuclear reactor of an enemy country. In 1981 the IDF bombed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq, for which it immediately claimed credit. (JTA)

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