U.S. intelligence reportedly believes Israel bombed a plutonium reactor in Syria last September.
CIA officials reportedly told Congress during a classified, closed-door hearing Thursday that the target of a mysterious Israeli air raid in northern Syria on Sept. 6 was a reactor meant to produce plutonium built with North Korean help. They said the Israelis struck just weeks or months before the reactor became fully operational.
Such disclosures effectively confirm months of speculation on the purposes of a mission about which Israel has refused to give details. Syria has said the strike destroyed only a defunct military facility.
Footage from inside the plant, taken by an Israeli spy, was shown at the hearing.
Israel’s daily Ma’ariv noted that had such an installation been bombed after becoming active, it likely would have poisoned the nearby Euphrates River – a source of water for much of the Middle East. That, the newspaper suggested, might explain the relative silence of Turkey and other regional players on Israel’s act of war.