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Friday
Dec242010

WikiLeaks: Israel Bombed Syria Nuclear Reactor in 2007 (YNet)

YNet, the English-language site of the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, reveals the contents of a yet-to-be published WikiLeaks document:

A confidential cable sent on April 25, 2008 by then-US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to State Department representatives worldwide states that "on September 6 2007, Israel destroyed the nuclear reactor built by Syria secretly, apparently with North Korea's help."

This cable is included in documents leaked to the WikiLeaks website and revealed Friday by Yedioth Ahronoth's Ronen Bergman before its official publication on the website.

The document is in fact a first official and detailed confirmation of the attack, starting with the intelligence collected before the strike, the cooperation between Israel and the United States, the troubling and harsh conclusions shared by both countries, the Israeli government's decision to bomb Syria and the fear that President Bashar Assad would launch a war in response.

"We have avoided sharing this information with you until now for fear of and in an attempt to avoid a conflict," Rice explained.

The first part of the memo details unprecedented information. "I would like to inform you that the Israeli attack was aimed at destroying the secret reactor built by Syria in a desert area in the east of the country called al-Kibar," the secretary of state wrote.

"The Israeli mission was successful – the reactor was destroyed without an option of rehabilitation. Syria completed the site's evacuation, got rid of the evidence of what existed in the area and set up a new building on the site.

"We believe, based on solid evidence, that North Korea helped Syria build the reactor – and we have decided that it's time to share more information on this matter with you."

Rice elaborates on the intelligence information that preceded the attack. "Our intelligence experts are convinced that the attack targeted by the Israelis is in fact an atomic reactor of the same type built by North Korean in Yongbyon," she wrote.

"The American intelligence community engaged in intensive efforts for many months to confirm the information provided to us by Israel about the reactor and collect additional information through our sources and methods."

The secretary of state added that the intelligence information was solid. "We have good reason to believe that the reactor was not built for peaceful purposes," she wrote. "First of all, we estimate that it was not designed as a power station, was isolated from populated communities and was not suitable for research purposes.

"Second, Syria took far-reaching steps to keep the real nature of the site secret. Third, by acting secretly and failing to provide representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency with sketches of the site, as required by the agreement it signed, it missed the purpose of means of supervision aimed at providing the international community with the confirmation that the reactor is part of a peaceful plan."

Rice concluded by saying that "the hiding and lies spread by Syria in the months after the attack are clear proof that it has something to hide. Had it not had something to hide, Syria would not have refrained from inviting IAEA supervisors and media representatives to the site to prove its claims."

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