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Israeli Bombs Are Source of Uranium at Shelled Site, Syria Says
Israeli missiles are the source of traces of uranium that diplomats at the International Atomic Energy Agency say were found at a suspected nuclear site in Syria, according to Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem.
``The basis of American complaint and allegations, presented to the IAEA seven months after the Israeli raid, is that a reactor was under construction, not operating, so where did the uranium particles come from?'' al-Moallem said late yesterday, according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency. ``Why has nobody asked about the content and type of Israeli shells used in destroying this building, in light of the U.S. and Israel's use of uranium in their shells?''
IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei said Sept. 22 that United Nations inspectors, on a visit in June, hadn't found any traces of nuclear material at the site in al-Kibar that was bombed by Israel in September 2007. U.S. intelligence officials, who suspected Syria of having a covert nuclear program in the 1990s, said they were certain the government in Damascus was building a secret facility with North Korean help in early 2007, according to Congressional testimony in April.
The IAEA will present findings on its investigation into the Syrian site to the UN agency's 35-member board of directors before their next meeting on Nov. 27, ElBaradei said in Prague this week.
``I regret very much the fact that we were not allowed to investigate the issue before the facility was destroyed,'' ElBaradei said Nov. 11 in a Prague press briefing. ``The job has become much more complicated for us.''
Syria, which is a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has denied the U.S. allegations. Israel's government has declined to comment on the issue.
Al-Moallem said ``leaks of information by some Western diplomats is a clear indication that the goal is to put pressure on Syria, particularly as the campaign came before ElBaradei reports to the board of governors. This means that the subject is not technical but political.''