'USAF Struck Syrian Nuclear Site'

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by
The Jerusalem Post (Israel)

'USAF Struck Syrian Nuclear Site'

by
Jerusalem Post Staff

The September 6 raid over Syria was carried out by the US Air Force, the Al-Jazeera Web site reported Friday. The Web site quoted Israeli and Arab sources as saying that two strategic US jets armed with tactical nuclear weapons carried out an attack on a nuclear site under construction.

The sources were quoted as saying that Israeli F-15 and F-16 jets provided cover for the US planes.

The sources added that each US plane carried one tactical nuclear weapon and that the site was hit by one bomb and was totally destroyed.

At the beginning of October, Israel's military censor began to allow the local media to report on the raid without attributing their report to foreign sources. Nevertheless, details of the strike have remained clouded in mystery.

On October 28, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the cabinet that he had apologized to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan if Israel violated Turkish airspace during a strike on an alleged nuclear facility in Syria last month.

In a carefully worded statement that was given to reporters after the cabinet meeting, Olmert said: "In my conversation with the Turkish prime minister, I told him that if Israeli planes indeed penetrated Turkish airspace, then there was no intention thereby, either in advance or in any case, to - in any way - violate or undermine Turkish sovereignty, which we respect."

The New York Times reported on October 13 that Israeli planes struck at what US and Israeli intelligence believed was a partly constructed nuclear reactor in Syria on September 6, citing American and foreign officials who had seen the relevant intelligence reports.

According to the report, Israel carried out the report to send a message that it would not tolerate even a nuclear program in its initial stages of construction in any neighboring state.

On October 17, Syria denied that one of its representatives to the United Nations told a panel that an Israeli air strike hit a Syrian nuclear facility and added that "such facilities do not exist in Syria."

A UN document released by the press office had provided an account of a meeting of the First Committee, Disarmament and International Security, in New York, and paraphrased an unnamed Syrian representative as saying that a nuclear facility was hit by the raid.

However, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency, SANA said media reports, apparently based on a UN press release, misquoted the Syrian diplomat.

© 2007 The Jerusalem Post

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