Raid on the Iraqi Reactor !

Published on Aug 9, 2020
Operation Opera (Hebrew: אופרה‎),[1] also known as Operation Babylon,[2] was a surprise Israeli air strike carried out on 7 June 1981, that destroyed a nuclear reactor under construction 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq.[3][4][5] This operation was after Iran's Operation Scorch Sword that damaged this nuclear facility months before.

In 1976, Iraq purchased an "Osiris"-class nuclear reactor from France.[6][7] While Iraq and France maintained that the reactor, named Osirak by the French, was intended for peaceful scientific research,[8] the Israelis viewed the reactor with suspicion, and said that it was designed to make nuclear weapons.[3] On 7 June 1981, a flight of Israeli Air Force F-16A fighter aircraft, with an escort of F-15As, bombed and heavily damaged the Osirak reactor.[9] Israel claimed it acted in self-defense, and that the reactor had "less than a month to go" before "it might have become critical."[10] Ten Iraqi soldiers and one French civilian were killed.[11] The attack took place about three weeks before the elections for the Knesset.[12]

The attack was strongly criticized around the world and Israel was rebuked by the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly in two separate resolutions.[13][14] The destruction of Osirak has been cited as an example of a preventive strike in contemporary scholarship on international law.


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