JERUSALEM (JTA) — A confidential memo from Condoleezza Rice to U.S. State Department representatives around the world has confirmed that Israel destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor, a cable leaked to WikiLeaks says.
The cable, which has not yet been published, was reported by the Israeli newspaper Yediot Acharonot before its official publication on the WikiLeaks website.
The document was sent on April 25, 2008, by Rice, then secretary of state. It reads, in part, "On September 6, 2007, Israel destroyed a nuclear reactor Syria was clandestinely constructing, we judge with North Korean assistance."
The cable, which includes detailed information about the attack, is the first official confirmation of the attack, Yediot reported.
"I want to inform you that the purpose of that Israeli mission was to destroy a clandestine nuclear reactor that Syria was constructing in its eastern desert near a place we call al-Kibar," Rice wrote. "The Israeli mission was successful — the reactor was damaged beyond repair. Syria has completed efforts to clean up the site and destroy evidence of what was really there, constructing a new building on the old site."
The document confirms that Israel and the United States collaborated on intelligence for the mission. "The U.S. intelligence community conducted an intensive, months-long effort to confirm and corroborate the information Israel provided us on the reactor and to gather more details from our own sources and methods," Rice wrote.
Israel has never confirmed nor denied its involvement in the strike. Syria denies that the site was a nuclear reactor, calling it instead a military installation.