CIA Confirms: Israel Bombed Nuclear Reactor in Syria
The CIA - the US Central Intelligence Agency - is set to confirm that the Syrian installation destroyed by Israel on September 6, 2007 was a nuclear reactor. CIA representatives will brief members of a Congressional intelligence subcommittee.
The Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday that the installation was meant to produce plutonium, and was partially funded by North Korea. Israel bombed the reactor before it attained its planned capacity to manufacture plutonium for nuclear weapons, the CIA says.
The Congressional subcommittee session is to deal with Syrian-North Korean relations, amidst reports that a possible deal is in the works to remove North Korea from the American list of of state sponsors of terrorism.
At the presentation at Congress, which will be repeated afterwards to reporters, the intelligence officials will show video images showing Korean faces among the workers at the Syrian plant. Other pictures show what appears to be the construction of a reactor vessel inside the building.
Shortly after the Israel attack, Syria bulldozed the area and constructed a new building there, which it has not allowed foreign visitors to enter.
Israel, the U.S. and Syria have never divulged details about the attack, and today's presentation is a major departure from this policy. Israel is reportedly not happy with the change, fearing that it will revive the tensions between Syria and Israel.
Syrian media reported on Wednesday that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has agreed in principle to hand over the entire Golan Heights to Syria. Syrian Immigration Minister Boutina Sha'ban confirmed the reports, while Olmert's office was silent.
Two years ago, Olmert said, "As long as I serve as prime minister, the Golan Heights will remain in our hands because it is an integral part of the State of Israel." He was quoted in Israeli newspapers as reported by the French news agency AFP.
Nationalist Knesset Members said Olmert was recklessly endangering Israel with his consent to give away the strategic heights.