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Newly released reports show that Israel sent four F-16 fighters into Syria on September 6, 2007, to to bomb the partially completed al-Kubar nuclear reactor in Deir al-Zor after monitoring the site for years.

"The global community must know that Israel will always protect the security of its citizens and take all necessary steps in the face of threats in our region", said Danon.

The pilots called out the operation's code word - "Arizona" - that signaled that they had dropped about 17 tons of bombs on the site, the Jerusalem Post reported.

"The message from the attack on the nuclear reactor in 2007 is that the State of Israel will not allow the establishment of capabilities that threaten Israel's existence", military chief Lieutenant-General Gadi Eizencot said in the statement.

The military would not comment on its reasoning, but the move could be related to the upcoming memoir of former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who ordered the strike and has hinted about it for years, or it could be meant as a warning to arch-enemy Iran, which is active in Syria.

According to James Jeffrey, George W. Bush's deputy national security adviser, the US president backed the attack at the time. "It was Syria then and Iran today". Syria dismissed the accusations as part of a campaign to discredit the Damascus government.

Several months after the strike, the United States announced that intelligence indicated the site was a nuclear reactor with a military objective, although Syria denied it.

Netanyahu has renewed his high-profile campaign against Iran and its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, having found a kindred spirit in President Donald Trump, who has threatened to pull out of the pact. In 1981, the Israeli Air Force destroyed a reactor in Iraq. "To our assessment secretive and orderly for achieving a nuclear weapon".

Israel's admission comes after military censors lifted a more than 10-year order that had barred Israeli officials from discussing it and says it's a message to others.

The 2007 mission has been an open secret nearly since it happened.

The latest such attacks took place on February 20, when Israeli warplanes bombed a Syrian army facility in central Syria.

The Israeli army announced that a number totaling eight F-16 and F-15 jets raided and bombed the facility believed to be a nuclear reactor located in Syria.

The IDF's announcement Wednesday noted that the area in question, around Deir al-Zor, was captured by ISIS after the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011.


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