Israel Admits Bombing Syrian Nuclear Reactor in 2007, Warns Iran

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Israel acknowledged for the first time Wednesday, March 21, that its air force destroyed a almost completed Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007.

"The government of Israel, the [Israel Defense Forces] and the Mossad [Israeli intelligence agency] prevented Syria from developing a nuclear capability", he said.

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.

Newly released reports show that Israel sent four F-16 fighters into Syria on September 6, 2007, to to bomb the partially completed al-Kubar nuclear reactor in Deir al-Zor after monitoring the site for years.

Israel views Iranian activities as a threat to national security and constantly warns that Iran is allegedly building a permanent military base south of country's capital, Damascus.

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"The message is: When Israel is left alone, it will react as it reacted and used force 11 years ago and destroyed the North Korean facility", added Bergman.

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon said on Wednesday that Israel will do whatever is necessary to protect itself from regional threats and beyond just hours after it was revealed that Israel destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor back in 2007.

They included what Israel said was footage of the strike on the al-Kubar facility in Syria's desert region, as well as photographs of the covert operation. There was also a dispute between Olmert and his then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak who was reportedly foot-dragging over the operation.

By 2007, the intelligence collected by Israel indicated that the Syrians, with the assistance of North Korea, had built a gas-cooled, graphite-moderated reactor that was capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has deemed it "very likely" that the site "was a nuclear reactor that should have been declared".

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"The facility that was ... destroyed by Israel was a nuclear reactor under construction", Amano commented.

Syria, which has joined the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has denied this. "This equation should be understood by anyone in the Middle East", said Liberman.

The Israeli military's announcement on Wednesday noted that the area in question, around Deir al-Zor, was captured by Islamic State after the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011.

Under cover of night, the jets took off at 10:30 pm, flying low to avoid detection and returning at 2:30 am.

Israel has carried out dozens of airstrikes on targets in Syria during the war, mostly on suspected arms shipments to the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah. That was the message in 2007.

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