The Israeli targeting of Syria’s nuclear reactor in 2007 happened after the seizure of intelligence during a raid of a Syrian official home in Vienna, a magazine publishing excerpts of a book written by a Middle East expert reported on Monday.
David Makovsky said Israeli agents uncovered detailed photographs of Syria’s nuclear facility, al-Kibar, after breaking into the Vienna home of Ibrahim Othman, the head of Syria’s program, in his excerpts cited by the New Yorker.
The photos provided information that there were North Korean workers at Kibar and showed structural similarities with the North Korean reactor in Yongbyon.
Israel struck the Syrian reactor using four F-15 and four F-16 planes, dropping some 17 tons of explosives on the reactor between the hours of 12:40 and 12:53 a.m. on September 5, 2007, according to the New Yorker.
In 2007, Ehud Olmert, Israel’s prime minister at the time, decided to unilaterally attack Syria by invoking the Menachem Begin Doctrine—a policy to never allow enemy countries to obtain nuclear weapons. In 1981, Israel unilaterally attacked Iraq’s Osirak reactor.
The United States under the Administration of George W. Bush in 2007 did not think that there was enough evidence for a preemptive strike against Syria.