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      Archive: 12/30/2011

      News Brief

        12/30/2011, Tevet 4, 5772

      Document: US was Surprised by '81 Israeli Raid on Iraq

      The United States was stunned by Israel's air strikes against an Iraqi nuclear reactor in June 1981, according to files released, Thursday, by Britain's National Archives under the 30-year rule. Israel attacked the French-built reactor after intelligence reports indicated the reactor was on the verge of producing weapons-grade atomic material.

      In a cable sent to London, Britain's ambassador to Washington, Sir Nicholas Henderson - who was with US Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger as the news came in - wrote "Weinberger says that he thinks Begin must have taken leave of his senses. He is much disturbed by the Israeli reaction and possible consequences."