Operation Opera

Operation Opera

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Operation Babylon was a surprise Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

i air strike carried out on June 7, 1981, that destroyed a nuclear reactor
Nuclear reactor
A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

 under construction 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) southeast of Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

.

In 1976, Iraq purchased an "Osiris"-class nuclear reactor from France. While Iraq and France maintained that the reactor, named Osirak by the French, was intended for peaceful scientific research, the Israelis viewed the reactor with suspicion, and said that it was designed to make nuclear weapons. On June 7, 1981, a flight of Israeli Air Force F-16A fighter aircraft, with an escort of F-15As, bombed and heavily damaged the Osirak reactor. Israel claimed it acted in self-defense, and that the reactor had "less than a month to go" before "it might have become critical." Ten Iraqi soldiers and one French civilian were killed. The attack took place about three weeks before the elections
Israeli legislative election, 1981
Elections for the tenth Knesset were held in Israel on 30 June 1981. Despite last minute polls suggesting a victory for Shimon Peres's Alignment, Menachem Begin's Likud won by just one seat...

 for the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

.

The attack was strongly criticized around the world and Israel was rebuked by the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 and General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 in two separate resolutions. The destruction of Osirak has been cited as an example of a preventive strike
Preventive war
A preventive war or preventative war is a war initiated to prevent another party from attacking, when an attack by that party is not imminent or known to be planned. Preventive war aims to forestall a shift in the balance of power by strategically attacking before the balance of power has a chance...

 in contemporary scholarship on international law
International law
Public international law concerns the structure and conduct of sovereign states; analogous entities, such as the Holy See; and intergovernmental organizations. To a lesser degree, international law also may affect multinational corporations and individuals, an impact increasingly evolving beyond...

.

Following the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, American forces captured a number of documents detailing conversations that Sadaam Hussein had with his inner sanctum. The archive of documents and recorded meetings confirm that Hussein was indeed aiming to strike at Israel. In a 1982 conversation Hussein stated that, "Once Iraq walks out victorious [over Iran], there will not be any Israel." Of Israel’s anti-Iraqi endeavors he noted, "Technically, they [the Israelis] are right in all of their attempts to harm Iraq."

Iraq's nuclear program


Iraq had established a nuclear program sometime in the 1960s, and in the mid-1970s looked to expand it through the acquisition of a nuclear reactor. After failing to convince the French government
Government of France
The government of the French Republic is a semi-presidential system determined by the French Constitution of the fifth Republic. The nation declares itself to be an "indivisible, secular, democratic, and social Republic"...

 to sell them a gas-graphite
Graphite
The mineral graphite is one of the allotropes of carbon. It was named by Abraham Gottlob Werner in 1789 from the Ancient Greek γράφω , "to draw/write", for its use in pencils, where it is commonly called lead . Unlike diamond , graphite is an electrical conductor, a semimetal...

 plutonium-producing reactor and reprocessing plant, and likewise failing to convince the Italian government to sell them a Cirene reactor, the Iraqi government convinced the French government to sell them an Osiris-class research reactor
Research reactor
Research reactors are nuclear reactors that serve primarily as a neutron source. They are also called non-power reactors, in contrast to power reactors that are used for electricity production, heat generation, or maritime propulsion.-Purpose:...

. The purchase also included a smaller accompanying Isis-type reactor, the sale of 72 kilograms of 93% enriched uranium
Enriched uranium
Enriched uranium is a kind of uranium in which the percent composition of uranium-235 has been increased through the process of isotope separation. Natural uranium is 99.284% 238U isotope, with 235U only constituting about 0.711% of its weight...

 and the training of personnel. The total cost has been given as $300 million. In November 1975 the countries signed a nuclear cooperation agreement and in 1976 the sale of the reactor was finalized.

Construction for the 40-megawatt light-water nuclear reactor began in 1979 at the Al Tuwaitha Nuclear Center near Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

. The main reactor was dubbed Osirak (Osiraq) by the French, blending the name of Iraq with that of the reactor class. Iraq named the main reactor Tammuz 1 (Arabic: تموز) and the smaller Tammuz 2. Tammuz
Tammuz (Babylonian calendar)
Tammuz was a month in the Babylonian calendar, named for one of the main Babylonian gods, Tammuz . Many different calendar systems have since adopted Tammuz to refer to a month in the summer season....

 was the Babylonian
Babylonian calendar
The Babylonian calendar was a lunisolar calendar with years consisting of 12 lunar months, each beginning when a new crescent moon was first sighted low on the western horizon at sunset, plus an intercalary month inserted as needed by decree. The calendar is based on a Sumerian precedecessor...

 month when the Ba'ath party had come to power in 1968. In July 1980, Iraq received from France a shipment of approximately 12.5 kilograms of highly enriched uranium fuel to be used in the reactor. The shipment was the first of a planned six deliveries totalling 72 kilograms. It was reportedly stipulated in the purchase agreement that no more than two HEU fuel loadings, 24 kilograms, could be in Iraq at any time.

Iraq and France claimed that the Iraqi reactor was intended for peaceful scientific research. Agreements between France and Iraq excluded military use. The American private intelligence agency STRATFOR
Stratfor
Strategic Forecasting, Inc., more commonly known as STRATFOR, is a global intelligence company founded in 1996 in Austin, Texas by George Friedman who is the founder, chief intelligence officer, and CEO of the company...

 wrote in 2007 that the reactor "was believed to be on the verge of producing plutonium for a weapons program". In a 2003 speech, Richard Wilson
Richard Wilson (physicist)
Richard Wilson is a British physicist. He has been a faculty member at Harvard University since 1955 and is currently the Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics, emeritus. He is a foreign honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.-Education:Wilson was educated at St. Paul's School in...

, a professor of physics at Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 who visually inspected the partially damaged reactor in December 1982, said that "to collect enough plutonium [for a nuclear weapon] using Osirak would've taken decades, not years". In 2005, Wilson further commented in The Atlantic:


the Osirak reactor that was bombed by Israel in June of 1981 was explicitly designed by the French engineer Yves Girard to be unsuitable for making bombs. That was obvious to me on my 1982 visit.


Elsewhere Wilson has stated that

Many claim that the bombing of the Iraqi Osirak reactor delayed Iraq's nuclear bomb program. But the Iraqi nuclear program before 1981 was peaceful, and the Osirak reactor was not only unsuited to making bombs but was under intensive safeguards.


Iraq was a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to...

, placing its reactors under International Atomic Energy Agency
International Atomic Energy Agency
The International Atomic Energy Agency is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization on 29 July 1957...

 (IAEA) safeguards. In October 1981, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is a nontechnical online magazine that covers global security and public policy issues, especially related to the dangers posed by nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction...

published excerpts from the testimony of Roger Richter, a former IAEA inspector who described the agency's nuclear safeguards weaknesses to the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Richter testified that only part of Iraq's nuclear installation was under safeguard and that the most sensitive facilities were not even subject to safeguards. IAEA's Director-General Sigvard Eklund
Sigvard Eklund
Dr. Sigvard Arne Eklund was a director of the International Atomic Energy Agency security council from 1961 to 1981.-Career:...

 issued a rebuttal saying that Richter had never inspected Osirak and had never been assigned to inspect facilities in the Middle East. Eklund claimed that the safeguards procedures were effective and that they were supplemented by precautionary measures taken by the nuclear suppliers. Anthony Fainberg, a physicist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Brookhaven National Laboratory , is a United States national laboratory located in Upton, New York on Long Island, and was formally established in 1947 at the site of Camp Upton, a former U.S. Army base...

, disputed Richter's claim that a fuel processing program for the manufacturing of nuclear weapons could have been conducted secretly. Fainberg wrote that there was barely enough fuel on the site to make one bomb, and that the presence of hundreds of foreign technicians would have made it impossible for the Iraqis to take the necessary steps without being discovered.

Strategy and diplomacy


In Israel, discussions on which strategy to adopt in response to the Iraqi reactor development were taking place as early as Yitzhak Rabin's
Yitzhak Rabin
' was an Israeli politician, statesman and general. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Israel, serving two terms in office, 1974–77 and 1992 until his assassination in 1995....

 first term in office
Seventeenth government of Israel
The seventeenth government of Israel was formed by Yitzhak Rabin on 3 June 1974, following the resignation of Prime Minister Golda Meir on 11 April and Rabin's election as Labor Party leader on 26 April...

 (1974–1977). Reportedly, planning and training for the operation began during this time. After Menachem Begin
Menachem Begin
' was a politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Before independence, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944,...

 became Prime Minister in 1977 the preparations intensified; Begin authorized the building of a full-scale model of the Iraqi reactor which Israeli pilots could practice bombing. Three Israeli pilots died in accidents while training for the mission.

Israel's Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan was an Israeli military leader and politician. The fourth Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces , he became a fighting symbol to the world of the new State of Israel...

 initiated diplomatic negotiations with France, Italy—Israel maintained that some Italian firms acted as suppliers and sub-contractors—and the United States over the matter, but failed to obtain assurances that the reactor program would be halted, and was not able to convince the French governments of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
Valéry Marie René Georges Giscard d'Estaing is a French centre-right politician who was President of the French Republic from 1974 until 1981...

 and François Mitterrand
François Mitterrand
François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand was the 21st President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra, serving from 1981 until 1995. He is the longest-serving President of France and, as leader of the Socialist Party, the only figure from the left so far elected President...

 to cease aiding the Iraqi nuclear program. Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

 consistently maintained that Osirak was intended for peaceful purposes. Begin considered the diplomatic options fruitless, and worried that prolonging the decision to attack would lead to a fatal inability to act in response to the perceived threat. According to Karl P. Mueller, in the spring of 1979, Begin had reached the conclusion that an anticipatory attack was necessary.

Anthony Cordesman
Anthony Cordesman
Anthony H. Cordesman holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and is a national security analyst for ABC News on a number of global conflicts...

 writes that Israel conducted a series of clandestine operations to halt construction or destroy the reactor. In April 1979, Israeli agents in France allegedly planted a bomb that destroyed the reactor's first set of core structures while they were awaiting shipment to Iraq. In June 1980, Israeli agents are said to have assassinated Yehia El-Mashad, an Egyptian atomic scientist working on the Iraqi nuclear program. It has also been claimed that Israel bombed several of the French and Italian companies it suspected of working on the project, and sent threatening letters to top officials and technicians. Following the bombing in April 1979, France inserted a clause in its agreement with Iraq saying that French personnel would have to supervise the Osirak reactor on-site for a period of ten years.

Iranian attack


Iran attacked
Iranian Air Force in Iran-Iraq war
On September 21, 1980, the day before the Iraqi invasion, the Iranian Air force was reported to have 447 functional combat aircraft stationed at 10 air bases throughout the country. There were modern Chengdu J-7s, 18 J-6s, 79 F-14s, 209 F-4 Phantom IIs, and 167 F-5s...

 and damaged the site on September 30, 1980, with two F-4 Phantoms
F-4 Phantom II
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter/fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. It first entered service in 1960 with the U.S. Navy. Proving highly adaptable,...

, shortly after the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War
Iran-Iraq War
The Iran–Iraq War was an armed conflict between the armed forces of Iraq and Iran, lasting from September 1980 to August 1988, making it the longest conventional war of the twentieth century...

. At the onset of the war, Yehoshua Saguy
Yehoshua Saguy
Major General Yehoshua Saguy is an Israeli former intelligence officer and politician. He served as director of the Military Intelligence Directorate between 1979 and 1983, and as a Knesset member for Likud from 1988 until 1992.-Biography:...

, director of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate, publicly urged the Iranians to bomb the reactor. This was the first attack on a nuclear reactor
Nuclear reactor
A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

 and only the third on a nuclear facility in the history of the world. It was also the first instance of a preventive attack on a nuclear reactor which aimed to forestall the development of a nuclear weapon, though it did not achieve its objective as France later repaired the reactor.

Trita Parsi
Trita Parsi
Trita Parsi is the current president and founder of the National Iranian American Council, and author of the 2007 book, Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States.-Biography:...

, in the book Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States, writes that a senior Israeli official met with a representative of the Khomeini regime in France one month prior to the Israeli attack. The source of the assertion is Ari Ben-Menashe
Ari Ben-Menashe
Ari Ben-Menashe is the author of Profits of War: Inside the Secret U.S.-Israeli Arms Network, a book purporting to describe his involvement in Iran-Contra and other intelligence operations. An Iraqi Jew who was educated in Israel, he is a former Israeli government employee, and has said that he...

, a former Israeli government employee. At the alleged meeting, the Iranians explained details of their 1980 attack on the site, and agreed to let Israeli planes land at an Iranian airfield in Tabriz
Tabriz
Tabriz is the fourth largest city and one of the historical capitals of Iran and the capital of East Azerbaijan Province. Situated at an altitude of 1,350 meters at the junction of the Quri River and Aji River, it was the second largest city in Iran until the late 1960s, one of its former...

 in the case of an emergency.

Operational planning


The distance between Israeli military bases and the reactor site was significant—over 1600 km (994.2 mi). The Israeli planes would have to violate Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

ian and/or Saudi
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 airspace in a covert flight over foreign territory, making mid-air refueling
Aerial refueling
Aerial refueling, also called air refueling, in-flight refueling , air-to-air refueling or tanking, is the process of transferring fuel from one aircraft to another during flight....

 unfeasible. The Israelis eventually concluded that a squadron of heavily fueled and heavily armed F-16A
F-16 Fighting Falcon
The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole jet fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force . Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Over 4,400 aircraft have been built since...

s, with a group of F-15A
F-15 Eagle
The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle is a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter designed by McDonnell Douglas to gain and maintain air superiority in aerial combat. It is considered among the most successful modern fighters with over 100 aerial combat victories with no losses in dogfights...

s to provide air cover and fighter support, could perform a surgical strike
Surgical strike
A surgical strike is a military attack which results in, was intended to result in, or is claimed to have resulted in only damage to the intended legitimate military target, and no or minimal collateral damage to surrounding structures, vehicles, buildings, etc....

 to eliminate the reactor site without having to refuel.

The decision to go through with the operation was hotly contested within Begin's government. Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

, a member of the Security Cabinet
Security Cabinet of Israel
The Political-Security Cabinet or The Ministers Committee on Security Affairs is a narrow forum of 'Inner Cabinet' within the Israeli Cabinet, headed by the Prime Minister of Israel, with the purpose of outlining a foreign and defense policy and implementing it...

, later said that he was among those who advocated bombing the reactor. Dayan, Defense Minister (until late 1980) Ezer Weizman
Ezer Weizman
' was the seventh President of Israel, first elected in 1993 and re-elected in 1998. Before the presidency, Weizman was commander of the Israeli Air Force and Minister of Defense.-Biography:...

 and Deputy Prime Minister Yigael Yadin
Yigael Yadin
Yigael Yadin on 21 March 1917, died 28 June 1984) was an Israeli archeologist, politician, and the second Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces.-Early life and military career:...

 were among those opposed. According to Mueller, "the principal difference between the hawks and doves on this issue lay in their estimation of the likely international political costs of an air strike". Shai Feldman specifies that "[those opposed] feared that the operation would derail the fragile Israeli-Egyptian peace process, fuel Arab anxieties about Israel's profile in the region, and damage Israel-French relations". Begin and his supporters, including Sharon, were far less pessimistic than their opponents about the political fallout. Yehoshua Saguy
Yehoshua Saguy
Major General Yehoshua Saguy is an Israeli former intelligence officer and politician. He served as director of the Military Intelligence Directorate between 1979 and 1983, and as a Knesset member for Likud from 1988 until 1992.-Biography:...

 argued for continued efforts in trying to find a non-military solution as it would take the Iraqis five to ten years to produce the material necessary for a nuclear weapon. In the end, Begin chose to order the attack based on a worst-case estimate where a weapon could be created in one to two years time.

It has been claimed that Israel felt it necessary to destroy the reactor before it was loaded with nuclear fuel, in order to prevent radioactive contamination
Radioactive contamination
Radioactive contamination, also called radiological contamination, is radioactive substances on surfaces, or within solids, liquids or gases , where their presence is unintended or undesirable, or the process giving rise to their presence in such places...

. An analysis by Warren Donnelly of the United States Congressional Research Service
Congressional Research Service
The Congressional Research Service , known as "Congress's think tank", is the public policy research arm of the United States Congress. As a legislative branch agency within the Library of Congress, CRS works exclusively and directly for Members of Congress, their Committees and staff on a...

 concluded that "it would be most unlikely for an attack with conventional bombs upon the reactor when operating to have caused lethal exposures to radioactivity in Baghdad, although some people at the reactor site might receive some exposure".

In October 1980, Mossad
Mossad
The Mossad , short for HaMossad leModi'in uleTafkidim Meyuchadim , is the national intelligence agency of Israel....

 reported to Begin that the Osirak reactor would be fueled and operational by June 1981. This assessment was significantly aided by reconnaissance photos supplied by the United States, specifically using the KH-11 KENNAN
KH-11 Kennan
The KH-11 KENNAN, renamed CRYSTAL in 1982 and also referenced by the codenames 1010, and "Key Hole", is a type of reconnaissance satellite launched by the American National Reconnaissance Office since December 1976...

 satellite. French technicians installing the reactor later said it was scheduled to become operational only by the end of 1981. Nonetheless, in October 1980, the Israeli cabinet (with Dayan absent) finally voted 10-6 in favor of launching the attack.

The attack




Yehuda Blum, in a speech to the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 following the attack, claimed that the operation was launched on a Sunday afternoon under the assumption that workers present on the site, including foreign experts employed at the reactor, would have left. Notwithstanding this precaution, there were hundreds of French workers and other nationals at the plant at the time of the raid.

The attack squadron consisted of eight F-16A
F-16 Fighting Falcon
The General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a multirole jet fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force . Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Over 4,400 aircraft have been built since...

s, each with two unguided Mark-84
Mark 84 bomb
The Mark 84 is an American general-purpose bomb, it is also the largest of the Mark 80 series of weapons. Entering service during the Vietnam War, it became a commonly used US heavy unguided bomb to be dropped, second only to the BLU-82 "Daisy Cutter" then in service and presently third only to...

 2,000-pound delay-action bomb
Delay-action bomb
A delay-action bomb is an aerial bomb designed to explode some time after impact, with the bomb's fuzes set to delay the explosion for times ranging from very brief to several weeks...

s. A flight of six F-15A
F-15 Eagle
The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle is a twin-engine, all-weather tactical fighter designed by McDonnell Douglas to gain and maintain air superiority in aerial combat. It is considered among the most successful modern fighters with over 100 aerial combat victories with no losses in dogfights...

s was assigned to the operation to provide fighter support. The F-16 pilots were Ze'ev Raz (who was later decorated by the Chief of Staff for his leadership), Amos Yadlin
Amos Yadlin
Aluf Amos Yadlin is a former general in the Israeli Air Force and was the head of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate, known as Aman. Before being promoted to head of Aman, Yadlin was the Israel Defense Forces military attaché to Washington, D.C.. Previously in his career he headed...

, Dobbi Yaffe, Hagai Katz, Amir Nachumi
Amir Nachumi
Amir Nachumi is a retired Israeli Air Force Brigadier General who in the course of his career shot down 14 enemy aircraft, making him one of Israel's top flying aces...

, Iftach Spector
Iftach Spector
Iftach Spector is a retired Israeli Brigadier General, a former fighter pilot and commander of the airbases at Tel Nof and Ramat David. He serves on the Israel Advisory Council of Israel Policy Forum.- Biography :...

, Relik Shafir, and Ilan Ramon
Ilan Ramon
Ilan Ramon was a fighter pilot in the Israeli Air Force, and later the first Israeli astronaut....

.

On June 7, 1981, at 15:55 local time (12:55 GMT), the operation was initiated. The Israeli planes left Etzion Airbase
Taba International Airport
Taba International Airport is an international airport located near Taba, Egypt.In 2009, the airport served 340,225 passengers .The airport was constructed by Israel at 1972 during its occupation of the Sinai following the Six Day War...

, flying unchallenged in Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

ian and Saudi
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 airspace. To avoid detection, the Israeli pilots conversed in Saudi-accented Arabic while in Jordanian airspace and told Jordanian air controllers that they were a Saudi patrol that had gone off course. While flying over Saudi Arabia, they pretended to be Jordanians, using Jordanian radio signals and formations. The Israeli planes were so heavily loaded that the external fuel tanks that had been mounted on the planes were exhausted in-flight. The tanks were jettisoned over the Saudi desert
Nefud
An Nafud or Al-Nefud or The Nefud is a desert in the northern part of the Arabian Peninsula at , occupying a great oval depression...

.

En route to the target, the Israeli planes crossed the gulf of Aqaba
Gulf of Aqaba
The Gulf of Aqaba is a large gulf located at the northern tip of the Red Sea. In pre twentieth-century and modern sources it is often named the Gulf of Eilat, as Eilat is its predominant Israeli city ....

. Unknowingly, the squadron flew directly over the yacht of King Hussein
Hussein of Jordan
Hussein bin Talal was the third King of Jordan from the abdication of his father, King Talal, in 1952, until his death. Hussein's rule extended through the Cold War and four decades of Arab-Israeli conflict...

 of Jordan, who was vacationing in the Gulf at the time. Taking into account the location, heading, and armament of the Israeli planes, Hussein quickly deduced the Iraqi reactor to be the most probable target. Hussein immediately contacted his government and ordered a warning to be sent to the Iraqis. However, due to a communication failure the message was never received and the Israeli planes entered Iraqi air space undetected.

Upon reaching Iraqi airspace the squadron split up, with two of the F-15s forming close escort to the F-16 squadron, and the remaining F-15s dispersing into Iraqi airspace as a diversion and ready back-up. The attack squadron descended to 30 m over the Iraqi desert, attempting to fly under the radar of the Iraqi defences.

At 18:35 local time (14:35 GMT), 20 km from the Osirak reactor complex, the F-16 formation climbed to 2,100 m and went into a 35-degree dive at 1,100 km/h, aimed at the reactor complex. At 1,100 m, the F-16s began releasing the Mark 84 bomb
Mark 84 bomb
The Mark 84 is an American general-purpose bomb, it is also the largest of the Mark 80 series of weapons. Entering service during the Vietnam War, it became a commonly used US heavy unguided bomb to be dropped, second only to the BLU-82 "Daisy Cutter" then in service and presently third only to...

s in pairs, at 5-second intervals. At least eight of the sixteen released bombs struck the containment dome of the reactor. It was later revealed that half an hour before the Israeli planes arrived, a group of Iraqi soldiers manning anti-aircraft defenses had left their posts for an afternoon meal, turning off their radars. The Israeli planes were still intercepted by Iraqi defenses but managed to evade the remaining anti-aircraft fire. The squadron climbed to high altitude and started their return to Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

. The attack lasted less than two minutes. According to Ze'ev Raz, the leader of the attack force, the Israeli pilots radioed each other and recited the biblical verse Joshua 10:12
Book of Joshua
The Book of Joshua is the sixth book in the Hebrew Bible and of the Old Testament. Its 24 chapters tell of the entry of the Israelites into Canaan, their conquest and division of the land under the leadership of Joshua, and of serving God in the land....

 as they were returning to base.

International political reactions



International response at the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 took two paths. The United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 issued a unanimous and almost immediate response on June 19, 1981, following eight meetings and statements from Iraq and the International Atomic Energy Agency
International Atomic Energy Agency
The International Atomic Energy Agency is an international organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. The IAEA was established as an autonomous organization on 29 July 1957...

. Security Council Resolution 487 strongly condemned the attack as a "clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international conduct" and called on Israel to refrain from such attacks in the future; the Council recognised the right of Iraq to "establish programmes of technological and nuclear development" and called for Israel to join Iraq within the "IAEA safeguards regime" of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT, is a landmark international treaty whose objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to...

. The Council also stated its consideration that Iraq was "entitled to appropriate redress for the destruction it has suffered." The United States voted for the resolution and suspended the delivery of four F-16 aircraft to Israel, but blocked punitive action by the UN. The suspension on the delivery of the aircraft was lifted two months later.

The UN General Assembly followed the Security Council with Resolution No. 36/27 on November 13, 1981, expressing deep alarm and condemning Israel over the "premeditated and unprecedented act of aggression," and demanding that Israel pay prompt and adequate compensation for the damage and loss of life it had caused. The resolution also solemnly warned Israel to refrain from taking such measures in the future.

Debate prior to passage of the UN resolution reflected member states' differing positions on issues such as nuclear proliferation in the region and the appropriateness and justifiability of Israel's actions. The Iraqi representative stated that "the motives behind the Israeli attack were to cover up Israel's possession of nuclear weapons and, more importantly, the determination not to allow the Arab nation to acquire scientific or technical knowledge." Syria requested condemnation not only of Israel for terrorism against Arab peoples, but also of the United States, "which continue[s] to provide Israel with instruments of destruction as part of its strategic alliance."

The representative of France stated that the sole purpose of the reactor was scientific research. Agreements between France and Iraq excluded military use. The United Kingdom said it did not believe Iraq had the capacity to manufacture fissionable materials for nuclear weapons. The IAEA Director-General confirmed that inspections of the nuclear research reactors near Baghdad revealed no non-compliance with the safeguards agreement.

The IAEA's Board of Governors
Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency
The Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency is one of the two policy making bodies of the IAEA, along with the annual General Conference of IAEA members....

 convened on June 9–12 and condemned Israel's action. The Board further asked that the prospect of suspending Israel's privileges and rights of membership be considered at the next General Conference held by the organization. On September 26, 1981, the IAEA Conference condemned the attack and voted to suspend all technical assistance to Israel. A draft resolution was introduced to expel Israel from the IAEA, but the proposition was defeated. The United States argued that the attack was not a violation of the IAEA Statute and that punitive action against Israel would do great harm to the IAEA and the non-proliferation regime.

The attack was strongly criticized around the world, including in the United States. Jonathan Steele
Jonathan Steele
Jonathan Steele is a British journalist, author of several books on international affairs.Jonathan Steele was educated at King's College, Cambridge and Yale University . He has reported on Afghanistan, Russia, Iraq, and other countries. He was Washington Bureau Chief, Moscow Bureau Chief, and...

, writing in The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

, described the reaction:
"The world was outraged by Israel’s raid on June 7, 1981. “Armed attack in such circumstances cannot be justified. It represents a grave breach of international law,” Margaret Thatcher thundered. Jeane Kirkpatrick, the US ambassador to the UN and as stern a lecturer as Britain’s then prime minister, described it as “shocking” and compared it to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. American newspapers were as fulsome. “Israel’s sneak attack...was an act of inexcusable and short-sighted aggression,” said the New York Times. The Los Angeles Times called it “state-sponsored terrorism”."



Aftermath


Ten Iraqi soldiers and one French civilian were killed in the attack. The civilian killed was engineer Damien Chaussepied, variously described as 24 or 25 years old, who was an employee of Air Liquide
Air Liquide
L'Air Liquide S.A., or Air Liquide , is a major French company supplying industrial gases and services to various industries including medical, chemical and electronic manufacturers. Founded in 1902, it is first in the world market in its field, now operating in over 80 countries. It is...

 and the French governmental agency CEA
Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique
The Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives or CEA, is a French “public establishment related to industrial and commercial activities” whose mission is to develop all applications of nuclear power, both civilian and military...

. In 1981, Israel agreed to pay restitution to Chaussepied's family.

Iraq said it would rebuild the facility and France agreed, in principle, to aid in the reconstruction. Because of a mix of factors, including the Iran-Iraq War
Iran-Iraq War
The Iran–Iraq War was an armed conflict between the armed forces of Iraq and Iran, lasting from September 1980 to August 1988, making it the longest conventional war of the twentieth century...

, international pressure and Iraqi payment problems, negotiations broke down in 1984 and France withdrew from the project. The Osirak facility remained in its damaged state until the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when it was completely destroyed by subsequent coalition air strikes, by the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 one of them being Package Q Strike. During the war, 100 out of 120 members of the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 signed a letter of appreciation to Menachem Begin, thanking him for ordering the attack on Osirak.

The attack took place approximately three weeks before the Israeli legislative election of 1981
Israeli legislative election, 1981
Elections for the tenth Knesset were held in Israel on 30 June 1981. Despite last minute polls suggesting a victory for Shimon Peres's Alignment, Menachem Begin's Likud won by just one seat...

. Opposition leader Shimon Peres
Shimon Peres
GCMG is the ninth President of the State of Israel. Peres served twice as the eighth Prime Minister of Israel and once as Interim Prime Minister, and has been a member of 12 cabinets in a political career spanning over 66 years...

 criticized the operation as a political ploy, which did not go over well with the electorate. Dan Perry writes that "the Osirak bombing - and Peres's poor political judgement in criticizing it - were crucial in turning the tide of what initially had seemed to be a hopeless election campaign for Likud
Likud
Likud is the major center-right political party in Israel. It was founded in 1973 by Menachem Begin in an alliance with several right-wing and liberal parties. Likud's victory in the 1977 elections was a major turning point in the country's political history, marking the first time the left had...

". On June 30, Likud was reelected in favor of Peres's Alignment
Alignment (political party)
The Alignment was an alliance of the major left-wing parties in Israel between the 1960s and 1990s. It was established in 1965 as an alliance of Mapai and Ahdut HaAvoda but was dissolved three years later when the two parties and Rafi formally merged into the Israeli Labor Party...

 party, winning by just one seat in the Knesset.

In 2009, the Prime Minister of Iraq Nouri al-Maliki
Nouri al-Maliki
Nouri Kamil Mohammed Hasan al-Maliki , also known as Jawad al-Maliki or Abu Esraa, is the Prime Minister of Iraq and the secretary-general of the Islamic Dawa Party. Al-Maliki and his government succeeded the Iraqi Transitional Government. He is currently in his second term as Prime Minister...

 demanded that Israel compensate Iraq for the destruction of the reactor. An Iraqi official asserted that Iraq's right to redress is supported by Resolution 487
United Nations Security Council Resolution 487
United Nations Security Council Resolution 487, adopted unanimously on June 19, 1981, having noted representations from Iraq and the International Atomic Energy Agency , the Council condemned an attack by Israel on a IAEA-approved nuclear site in Iraq....

 adopted by the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 in response to the attack. In early 2010, The Siasat Daily
The Siasat Daily
Siasat is a popular Urdu newspaper from the south Indian city of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.Established in 1948 and based out of Hyderabad, Siasat is the largest circulated Urdu daily . The founder Editor Mr. Abid Ali Khan started The Siasat Daily in 1948 with his friend Mr. Mehboob Hussain Jigar....

, citing an unnamed Iraqi parliament member, reported that Iraqi officials had received word from the UN Secretariat that the Iraqi government is entitled to seek compensation from Israel for damage caused by the attack.

Assessment


The causes of the raid and its long-term consequences have been the subject of debate. As early as the autumn of 1981, Kenneth Waltz
Kenneth Waltz
Kenneth Neal Waltz is a member of the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University and one of the most prominent scholars of international relations alive today...

 discussed the fallout from the strike:
"In striking Iraq, Israel showed that a preventive strike can be made, something that was not in doubt. Israel’s act and its consequences however, make clear that the likelihood of useful accomplishment is low. Israel’s strike increased the determination of Arabs to produce nuclear weapons. Arab states that may attempt to do so will now be all the more secretive and circumspect. Israel’s strike, far from foreclosing Iraq’s nuclear future, gained her the support of some other Arab states in pursuing it. And despite Prime Minister Begin’s vow to strike as often as need be, the risks in doing so would rise with each occasion."


Charles R. H. Tripp
Charles R. H. Tripp
Professor Charles R. H. Tripp, Ph.D., is an academic and author specializing in the politics and history of the Near and Middle East.Tripp's main areas of research include the study of state and society in the Middle East, especially Iraq, and Islamic political thought., he lectures on government...

, in an interview for the 25th anniversary of the attack, described the bombing of Osirak as a variation of Israeli military doctrine beginning with the premiership of David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

, "advocating devastating pre-emptive
Preemptive war
A preemptive war is a war that is commenced in an attempt to repel or defeat a perceived inevitable offensive or invasion, or to gain a strategic advantage in an impending war before that threat materializes. It is a war which preemptively 'breaks the peace'. The term: 'preemptive war' is...

 strikes on Arab enemies." Tripp asserted, "the Osirak attack is an illegal way to behave - Resolution 487 established that - but it is an understandable way to behave if you are the Israeli military-security establishment."

Tom Moriarty, a military intelligence analyst for the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

, wrote in 2004 that Israel had "gambled that the strike would be within Iraq's threshold of tolerance." Moriarty argues that Iraq, already in the midst of a war with Iran
Iran-Iraq War
The Iran–Iraq War was an armed conflict between the armed forces of Iraq and Iran, lasting from September 1980 to August 1988, making it the longest conventional war of the twentieth century...

, would not start a war with Israel at the same time and that its "threshold of tolerance was higher than normal."

Joseph Cirincione
Joseph Cirincione
Joseph Cirincione is the President of the Ploughshares Fund, a public grant-making foundation focused on nuclear weapons policy and conflict resolution. He was appointed to the presidency by the Ploughshares board of directors on March 5, 2008...

, then director of non-proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a foreign-policy think tank based in Washington, D.C. The organization describes itself as being dedicated to advancing cooperation between nations and promoting active international engagement by the United States...

, wrote in 2006:
"Israel had pulled off a remarkable military raid, striking targets with great precision over long distances. But the bombing set back Israel more than Iraq. It further harmed Israel's international reputation, later worsened by the ill-fated 1982 invasion of Lebanon, while making Iraq appear a victim of Israeli aggression."


Israel claims that the attack impeded Iraq's nuclear ambitions by at least ten years. In contrast, Dan Reiter
Dan Reiter
Dan Reiter is an American political scientist. He is currently a Professor and Chair at the Department of Political Science at Emory University.-Education:...

 has estimated that the attack may have accelerated Iraq's nuclear weapons program, a view echoed by Richard K. Betts
Richard K. Betts
Richard K. Betts is the Arnold Saltzman Professor of War and Peace Studies in the Department of Political Science, the director of the Institute of War and Peace Studies, and the director of the International Security Policy Program in the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia...

. Bob Woodward
Bob Woodward
Robert Upshur Woodward is an American investigative journalist and non-fiction author. He has worked for The Washington Post since 1971 as a reporter, and is currently an associate editor of the Post....

, in the book State of Denial, writes:
"Israeli intelligence were convinced that their strike in 1981 on the Osirak nuclear reactor about 10 miles outside Baghdad had ended Saddam's program. Instead [it initiated] covert funding for a nuclear program code-named 'PC3' involving 5.000 people testing and building ingredients for a nuclear bomb (...)"


These claims are bolstered by Iraqi researchers who have stated that the Iraqi nuclear program
Iraq and weapons of mass destruction
During the regime of Saddam Hussein, the nation of Iraq used, possessed, and made efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction . Hussein was internationally known for his use of chemical weapons in the 1980s against Iranian and Kurdish civilians during and after the Iran–Iraq War...

 simply went underground, diversified, and expanded. Khidir Hamza
Khidir Hamza
Khidir Hamza is an Iraqi scientist who worked for Saddam Hussein's nuclear programme in the 1980s and early 1990s. Following the Gulf War, he left Iraq in 1994 and went into exile in the United States. He provided testimony to Western intelligence agencies suggesting that Hussein's weapons of mass...

, an Iraqi nuclear scientist, made the following statement in an interview on CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

's Crossfire
Crossfire (TV series)
Crossfire was a current events debate television program that aired from 1982 to 2005 on CNN. Its format was designed to present and challenge the opinions of a politically liberal pundit and a conservative pundit.-Format:...

in 2003:
"Israel -- actually, what Israel [did] is that it got out the immediate danger out of the way. But it created a much larger danger in the longer range. What happened is that Saddam ordered us — we were 400... scientists and technologists running the program. And when they bombed that reactor out, we had also invested $400 million. And the French reactor and the associated plans were from Italy. When they bombed it out we became 7,000 with a $10 billion investment for a secret, much larger underground program to make bomb material by enriching uranium. We dropped the reactor out totally, which was the plutonium for making nuclear weapons, and went directly into enriching uranium... They [Israel] estimated we'd make 7 kg [15 lb] of plutonium a year, which is enough for one bomb. And they get scared and bombed it out. Actually it was much less than this, and it would have taken a much longer time. But the program we built later in secret would make six bombs a year."


Similarly, the Iraqi nuclear scientist Imad Khadduri wrote in 2003 that the bombing of Osirak convinced the Iraqi leadership to initiate a full-fledged nuclear weapons program. United States Secretary of Defense William Perry
William Perry
William James Perry is an American businessman and engineer who was the United States Secretary of Defense from February 3, 1994, to January 23, 1997, under President Bill Clinton...

 stated in 1997 that Iraq refocused its nuclear weapons effort on producing highly enriched uranium after the raid. Its interest in acquiring plutonium as fissile material for weapons continued, but at a lower priority. Louis René Beres
Louis Rene Beres
Louis René Beres is a professor of Political Science at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. The son of Austrian Jewish refugees, he was born on August 31, 1945 in Zürich, Switzerland and earned a B.A. from Queens College and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1971...

 wrote in 1995 that "[h]ad it not been for the brilliant raid at Osiraq, Saddam’s forces might have been equipped with atomic warheads in 1991."

In the Duelfer Report, released by the Iraq Survey Group
Iraq Survey Group
The Iraq Survey Group was a fact-finding mission sent by the multinational force in Iraq after the 2003 invasion of Iraq to find the alleged weapons of mass destruction alleged to be possessed by Iraq that had been the main ostensible reason for the invasion. Its final report is commonly called...

 in 2004, it is stated that the Iraqi nuclear program "expanded considerably" with the purchase of the French reactor in 1976, and that "Israel’s bombing of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor spurred Saddam to build up Iraq’s military to confront Israel in the early 1980s."

In an interview in 2005, former President of the United States Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 expressed retroactive support for the attack: "Everybody talks about what the Israelis did at Osirak in 1981, which I think, in retrospect, was a really good thing." In 2010, squad leader Ze'ev Raz said of the operation: "There was no doubt in the mind of the decision makers that we couldn't take a chance. We knew that the Iraqis could do exactly what we did in Dimona
Negev Nuclear Research Center
The Negev Nuclear Research Center is an Israeli nuclear installation located in the Negev desert, about thirteen kilometers to the south-east of the city of Dimona. The purpose of Dimona is widely assumed to be the manufacturing of nuclear weapons, and the majority of defense experts have...

."

See also

  • Operation Wooden Leg
    Operation Wooden Leg
    Operation Wooden Leg was an attack by Israel on the Palestine Liberation Organization headquarters in Hammam al-Shatt, Tunisia, 12 miles from the capital of Tunis. It took place on October 1, 1985. Taking place 1,280 miles away, this was the furthest operation from Israel undertaken by the...

     — the Israeli Air Force's raid on Tunisia
    Tunisia
    Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

  • Operation Orchard
    Operation Orchard
    Operation Orchard was an Israeli airstrike on a nuclear reactor in the Deir ez-Zor region of Syria carried out just after midnight on September 6, 2007. The White House and Central Intelligence Agency later confirmed that American intelligence had also indicated the site was a nuclear facility...

     — the Israeli airstrike on a purported Syrian nuclear target
  • Stuxnet
    Stuxnet
    Stuxnet is a computer worm discovered in June 2010. It initially spreads via Microsoft Windows, and targets Siemens industrial software and equipment...

  • France-Iraq relations
  • French support for Iraq during the Iran–Iraq war
  • Iraq-Israel relations
  • Nuclear weapons and Israel
    Nuclear weapons and Israel
    Israel is widely believed to be the sixth country in the world to have developed nuclear weapons and to be one of four nuclear-armed countries not recognized as a Nuclear Weapons State by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty , the others being India, Pakistan and North Korea...


Further reading

  • Yehuda Avner
    Yehuda Avner
    Yehuda Avner is an Israeli former prime ministerial advisor and diplomat. He served as personal secretary and speechwriter to Israeli Prime Ministers Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Golda Meir and Levi Eshkol, and as Israeli Ambassador to Australia and the United Kingdom.-Early...

    , The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership, ISBN 9781592642786
  • Timothy L. H. McCormack, Self-Defense in International Law: The Israeli Raid on the Iraqi Nuclear Reactor, ISBN 978-0-312-16279-5
  • Rodger Claire, Raid on the Sun : Inside Israel's Secret Campaign that Denied Saddam the Bomb, ISBN 978-0-7679-1400-0
  • Clinton Dan McKinnon, Dan McKinnon, Bullseye One Reactor, ISBN 978-0-941437-07-3

External links