Uranium Traces at Syrian Site

United Nations investigators have found traces of uranium contamination at the site of an Israeli air strike in Syria.

Maayana Miskin ,

IAEA's El-Baradei
IAEA's El-Baradei

United Nations investigators have found traces of uranium contamination at the site of an Israeli air strike in Syria, diplomats told Reuters and German media sources on Monday. The report is the first sign of a “smoking gun” proving that Syria was in fact building a secret nuclear reactor on the site, as Israel and the United States have insisted.

The diplomats said the traces of uranium were first found in June. What has been found so far is not conclusive evidence of nuclear activity, but “raises questions,” they said.

Officials in the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) did not confirm or deny the report. In September, IAEA head Mohammed el-Baradei said the investigation conducted in June had revealed no sign of nuclear activity.

El-Baradei is currently preparing a report on Syria's nuclear activity — a step that some diplomats say indicates the IAEA has found enough evidence to lead investigators to suspect nuclear development. In addition, the UN is expected to discuss Syria's alleged nuclear activities later in the month.

Syria denies any involvement in nuclear activity, and Syrian officials say the site bombed by Israel in 2007 was an abandoned army base. U.S. Diplomats say Syria was in the final stages of building a reactor with help from North Korean scientists.

The IAEA first began examining the blast site in May of 2008, and IAEA officials have warned that the delay in investigating will make it difficult to determine whether or not the area was in fact the site of a reactor.





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