The IDF revealed Tuesday that in 2002, 5 years before its operation “Outside the Box” destroyed Syria’s nuclear reactor, Israeli intelligence already knew about its existence.
ב-6 בספטמבר 2007 נתקף והושמד הכור הגרעיני הסורי בדיר א-זור, סוריה, על-ידי מטוסי קרב, בשילוב מאמץ מודיעיני ומבצעי מורכב אשר הסיר את האיום הגרעיני על מדינת ישראל והאזור כולו>> pic.twitter.com/98Du3AwA51
— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) September 6, 2022
On September 6, 2007, the Syrian nuclear reactor in Deir ez-Zor, Syria, was attacked and destroyed by warplanes of the Israeli Air Force, in combination with a complex intelligence and operational effort which removed the nuclear threat to the State of Israel and the entire region.
2002 was before the US invaded Iraq. Israel attacked the Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007, in part, because the US was still caught up in the continued fighting in Iraq. President George W. Bush was also unable to act against the Syrian nuclear program for political reasons, it was later revealed by White House insiders from his administration, because the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that he said that country possessed made it too difficult for him to push for action in Syria.
The IDF released a special intelligence document from 2002 that has been declassified, in which an intelligence assessment is written that Syria is trying to advance a strategic project whose merits are not yet known.