Israel's Secret Raid On Syria's North Korean-Made Nuclear Reactor

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Another minister, Israel Katz, also tweeted out a not-so-veiled threat: "The courageous decision of the Israeli government nearly 11 years ago to destroy the nuclear reactor in Syria and the successful operation following it sends a clear message: Israel will never allow nuclear weapons to countries like Iran who threaten its existence".

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

"They deserve the highest respect", he said.(ANSAmed).

"Imagine what situation we would be in today if there was a nuclear reactor in Syria", he said.

"The global 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.

Israel had acted before against the nuclear ambitions of its neighbours, notably in 1981 when it attacked a reactor under construction in Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

The reactor, believed to have been built with North Korean designs and materials, was created to produce weapons-grade plutonium for Syrian dictator Hafez al-Assad to develop a nuclear arsenal on Israel's border.

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Since the offensive's launch in January, some 1,500 Kurdish fighters have been killed, observers said yesterday. Ankara said the demand did not apply to Afrin, but its operation has faced criticism in the West.

Until Wednesday, Israel had neither confirmed nor denied that it bombed the Al-Kibar nuclear reactor in the Deir el-Zor area of Syria in an overnight operation conducted on September 5, 2007.

The event was first made public by Syria, which, as reported by Reuters at the time, said in the early hours of 6 September that its air defences had repelled an incursion by Israeli warplanes.

Several months after the strike, the U.S. announced that intelligence indicated the site was a nuclear reactor with military goal. It also suggested that it was being built with the help of North Korea. Throughout Syria's seven-year civil war, Israel has carried out well over 100 airstrikes, most believed to have been aimed at suspected weapons shipments destined for the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militant group. Israel sees an Iranian presence in Syria as its main strategic threat today.

Dagan was convinced that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would not retaliate - as long as he wasn't publicly humiliated.

"The nuclear reactor being held by Assad would have had severe strategic implications on the entire Middle East as well as Israel and Syria", it said.

The latest such attacks took place on February 20, when Israeli warplanes bombed a Syrian army facility in central Syria. The former prime minister explained that from that moment, in March 2007, Israel's political and military echelons began preparing the operational activities, which he described as "unprecedented".

The issue recently resurfaced after Olmert compiled a memoir during his time in prison, where he served a 16-month corruption sentence.

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