By Middle East Affairs
Israel has admitted for the first time to bombing a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007.
The strike took place Sept. 6, 2007 on the Al-Kubar facility near Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria. The admission comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under to pressure to take a harder stance against Syria in its civil war.
The Israeli military said North Korea was helping to build the reactor and that it was near activation. Reuters news agency was unable to immediately verify the Israeli material.
Israel’s intelligence minister, Israel Katz, tweeted: “The (2007) operation and its success made clear that Israel will never allow nuclear weaponry to be in the hands of those who threaten its existence – Syria then, and Iran today.”
According to the Israeli military, the strike employed eight warplanes, F-16s and F-15s, which deployed from the Ramon and Hatzerim air bases and dropped eighteen tons of munitions on the site.
According to Reuters, the United States presented in 2008 “intelligence showing that North Korea had helped Syria with “covert nuclear activities.” Syria denied the accusation at the time.
According to the Israeli military, the mission started at 10:30 p.m. on Sept. 5 and ended with the return of the warplanes at 2:30 a.m. the next day.
This area was actually captured by the Islamic State after the Syrian civil war began in 2011.
If an active reactor had still been there, the Israeli military said in its announcement, there would have been “severe strategic implications on the entire Middle East as well as Israel and Syria.”