Israeli pilot recalls smashing a rival's nuclear ambitions
The setting sun, at Raz's back, illuminated the reactor as if by spotlight. Raz flipped a switch with his index finger and released two 2,000-pound bombs. Seven other Israeli fighter jets flying with him did the same.
In one bold action on June 7, 1981, Israel's military had left the Osiraq nuclear reactor near Baghdad in smoldering ruins and dealt a blow to Saddam Hussein's nuclear ambitions.
"We didn't see a single Iraqi MiG (fighter), and not a single surface-to-air missile was fired," Raz says. "The whole operation was just too perfect."
The Osiraq mission is getting renewed attention in Israel now that the United Nations Security Council is likely to take up the issue of Iran's nuclear program, setting up a possible showdown between Iran and the West.
When asked in December how far he would go to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, the Israeli military chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, said "2,000 kilometers" -- the approximate flying distance between Israel and key Iranian nuclear sites.
Halutz says diplomatic efforts won't thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions. "I believe that the political means that are used by the Europeans and the U.S. to convince the Iranians to stop the project will not succeed."
However, military observers say a quick, Osiraq-style Israeli strike against Iranian targets is unlikely. "We'll never see ... eight planes swooping down on Iran," Raz says. "It could never happen."
comments powered by Disqus
- WWII Atomic Bomb Project Had More Than 1,500 “Leaks”
- Neanderthal 'Art' Found In Cave Sheds Surprising New Light On Ancient Intelligence
- Midterm Election Mind-Reading: The Market Tends to Win
- Proof surfaces for affair between Queen Victoria and her male assistant
- Could humans cause another Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum?
- Marcus Rediker says it was pirates, slaves, and motley crews who shaped the modern world, not the big heroes we hear so much about
- Pro-Israel website chides Middle East Studies professors, claiming they’re apologists for Hamas
- UCLA Economist, Known as Railroad Historian, Dies at 89
- David Rosand, an Art History Scholar Whose Heart Was in Venice, Dies at 75
- NYT interviews Rick Perlstein about his book