Israeli forces seize proof of Syrian nuke program
by Safura Rahimi, Arabian Business, 23 September 2007
Israeli forces looking for proof that Syria and North Korea were collaborating on a nuclear program raided a military compound in northern Syria, seizing North Korean nuclear material before bombing the site on September 6.
The ground raid by the elite Sayeret Matkal forces was part of Israel’s plans to provide clear evidence of nuclear-related activities to the US to get the superpower’s go-ahead for the warplane air strike, British weekly The Sunday Times reported.
According to the report, Israel had been surveying the Dayr az-Zwar site for months, however no date for the raid was provided.
The report also gave no details about the material seized, however tests have shown that it was of North Korean origin.
The White House and the Israeli army have both so far declined to comment on the attack.
The raid was directed by Ehud Barak, Israel’s defence minister who once commanded the elite Sayeret Matkal unit and had been preoccupied with the site since assuming his post in June, The Sunday Times said.
According to the paper, diplomats in North Korea and China believe a number of North Koreans – including missile technicians and military scientists who had been working with the Syrians for some time – were killed in the raid.
North Korea last week rejected allegations that it is cooperating with Syria in nuclear proliferation and called international media reports suggesting the link ‘sheer misinformation’.
The country claims the allegation was spread for political reasons and invoked by ‘dishonest forces’ in a bid to hinder progress in the country’s relations with the US.
However, the North Korean government for unknown reasons last week opposed resuming a new round of six-nation nuclear talks.
The six-nation talks – involving South Korea, the US, Japan, China, Russia and North Korea – are aimed at ending the North’s nuclear ambitions.
Source: Arabian Business