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Israel admits striking Syrian nuclear reactor

ANI | Updated: Mar 22, 2018 02:08 IST

Jerusalem [Israel], Mar 22 (ANI): Israel acknowledged publicly for the first time on Wednesday that it struck a secret nuclear reactor in Syria, 11 years ago, in 2007.

The Israeli military said that fighter jets bombed the al-Kibar facility in Deir al-Zour province, 450 kms north-east of Damascus, as it neared completion.

Syria's government had repeatedly denied that it was building a reactor, instead insisted that it was a missile facility.

Speaking in 2008, Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari, mocked the accusation, saying, "Syria builds many buildings all over the country. Does that mean that any building we build should be a project or a design to be a nuclear center building?," CNN reported.

Israel has now fully acknowledged carrying out the operation, named "Outside the Box," to a handful of media organisations.

But at that time, even the name of the operation was a secret; it was spoken of publicly as "Operation Orchard".

The Israeli Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said that public acknowledgement of the strike after nearly a decade of secrecy was a message to his country's enemies.

The public acknowledgement also comes as Israel wages a very public lobbying campaign against Iran, a key Syrian ally, and the deal to curtail its nuclear program.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had also urged United States President Donald Trump to "fix or nix it," according to CNN. (ANI)