Israelis 'Blew Apart Syrian Nuclear Cache'
The London Times Sunday edition tells us the reason:
Secret raid on Korean shipment
Uzi Mahnaimi in Tel Aviv, Sarah Baxter in
Washington and Michael Sheridan
IT was just after midnight when the 69th
Squadron of Israeli F15Is crossed the Syrian coast-line. On the ground, Syria’s
formidable air defences went dead. An audacious raid on a Syrian target 50 miles
from the Iraqi border was under way.
At a rendezvous point on the
ground, a Shaldag air force commando team was waiting to direct their laser
beams at the target for the approaching jets. The team had arrived a day
earlier, taking up position near a large underground depot. Soon the bunkers
were in flames.
Ten days after the jets reached home, their mission was
the focus of intense speculation this weekend amid claims that Israel believed
it had destroyed a cache of nuclear materials from North Korea.
Israeli government was not saying. “The security sources and IDF [Israeli
Defence Forces] soldiers are demonstrating unusual courage,” said Ehud Olmert,
the prime minister. “We naturally cannot always show the public our cards.”
The Syrians were also keeping mum. “I cannot reveal the details,” said
Farouk al-Sharaa, the vice-president. “All I can say is the military and
political echelon is looking into a series of responses as we speak. Results are
forthcoming.” The official story that the target comprised weapons destined for
Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite group, appeared to be crumbling
in the face of widespread scepticism.
Andrew Semmel, a senior US State
Department official, said Syria might have obtained nuclear equipment from
“secret suppliers”, and added that there were a “number of foreign technicians”
in the country.
Asked if they could be North Korean, he replied: “There
are North Korean people there. There’s no question about that.” He said a
network run by AQ Khan, the disgraced creator of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons,
could be involved.