Israel acknowledges striking suspected Syrian nuclear facility in 2007

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Uzi Rabi, an expert on Iran at Tel Aviv University, said Israel's surprising confirmation might be meant as a "warning sign" to Iran as it expands its military footprint in Syria.

And Israeli ministers now say the attack serves as a present-day message to its enemies - foremost among them its arch-enemy Iran, whose influence Israel fears is growing.

For over 10 years, Israeli officials have merely "winked" when asked about the operation.

The declassified material includes footage of the strike, video of a speech by military chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot on the operation and pictures of secret army intelligence communiques about the site. Wednesday's announcement also indicated the Syrian reactor was much closer to completion than previously reported.

Israel acknowledges striking suspected Syrian nuclear facility in 2007

Mossad-Israel's national intelligence service-suspected that a nuclear site was being constructed since 2006, when they spotted the buildings, which they called the "Rubik's Cube".

Syria, a signatory of the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has always denied that the site was a reactor or that Damascus engaged in nuclear cooperation with North Korea, which is believed to have supplied the reactor.

Israeli airstrikes destroyed in 2007 a nuclear facility in the Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor, which was on final stages of its construction, the Israel Defense Forces said on Wednesday in a statement.

"The reactor was close to being completed".

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Olmert has skirted around the issue, and military censors, for years, repeatedly saying that according to foreign sources Israel had been involved.

Three years later, on April 28, 2011, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced that the target bombed by the IDF aircraft was a "nuclear reactor under construction", after the IAEA rejected all the Syrian claims about the origin of the uranium remnants and even accused it of concealing information.

Israel said in its new disclosures that secrecy surrounding the strike was necessary due to the sensitive security situation. Both Iran and Hezbollah are allied with Assad.

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Gen. Amikam Norkin said the current turmoil in Syria has further vindicated the strike, particularly since the reactor was in an area later captured by Islamic State militants.

The nuclear reactor in Syria after the attack.

In the middle of the night, eight F-15 and F-16 fighter jets as well as an electronic-warfare aircraft took off in order to bomb the Syrian reactor.

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