Israel intel chief hints at role in Syrian nuclear facility bombing

Amos Yadlin

Amos Yadlin

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Israel’s outgoing senior military intelligence chief has implied that Israel had a role in a mystery 2007 bombing of an undisclosed Syrian government facility, which is widely believed to have been a nuclear reactor. Speaking on Tuesday before the Knesset’s Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense, Amos Yadlin, who heads Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate, referred to having overseen intelligence operations against two nuclear programs during his tenure. Delivering a public statement before the Committee, Yadlin noted that he had “been through two wars and [...] contended with two nuclear programs of enemy states”. Security observers consider this an indirect reference to Operation ORCHARD, the 2007 attack carried out by Israeli fighter jets in the night of September 6, 2007. The target location was Al-Kibar, a site deep in the Syro-Arabian Desert, twenty miles from Deir el-Zor. Neither Syria nor Israel have directly commented on the attack, which is widely thought to have targeted a Syrian nuclear reactor. Referring to Syria, Yadlin also said that Damascus’ intensive modernization of its air defense and offense systems, which followed Operation ORCHARD, had pushed the Arab state’s military balance with Israel back to the levels of the 1970s. The Israeli Military Intelligence Director, who is expected to step down next month, also warned that the next war involving Israel would include several fronts and would result in more human casualties and material destruction than recent regional conflicts. What is next for Yadlin? Longtime Israeli intelligence observer Yossi Melman says the outgoing military official is one of three main candidates to replace Mossad Director Meir Dagan in 2011.

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