Report: IAF attacked N. Korean nuclear shipment to Syria
The secret IAF foray into Syrian airspace was in fact an Israeli air strike directed at a North Korean boat delivering suspected nuclear material to Syria, the Washington Post reported on Saturday.
According to the report, the North Korean boat was disguised as a cement shipment. The Post report also claimed that the IAF attacked an "agricultural research center" which Israel believed was in fact a facility used by the Syrians to extract uranium from phosphates.
The report quoted an anonymous source who said that he received his information from Israelis who participated in the attack. According to that source, Israel took significant measures to protect the secrecy of the mission, briefing only those pilots who actually carried out the strike, and not the pilots of the planes providing cover. Further, the pilots who were involved in the attack were only told details after they had already taken off.
Speculation over the IAF foray into Syrian territory has been the subject of considerable debate since news of the mission broke last week.
On a Friday, a senior US nuclear official said that the North Koreans were in Syria and Damascus may have had contacts with "secret suppliers" to obtain nuclear equipment.
Andrew Semmel, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear nonproliferation policy, did not name the suppliers, but said there were North Koreans in Syria and that he could not exclude that the network run by disgraced Pakistan nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan may have been involved.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that Israel had gathered satellite imagery showing possible North Korean cooperation with Syria on a nuclear facility.
Semmel, who is in Italy for a meeting Saturday on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, said that Syria was certainly on the US nuclear "watch list."
This is what happens when the Bush administration opens a Pandora's box of pre-emptive attack.
Via Jerusalem Post.