Israeli television airs footage of Iraqi nuclear reactor's bombing

JERUSALEM - Israeli television on Wednesday aired for the first time footage of a bombing on an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 and minute preparations leading up to the widely condemned attack.

The 90-minute film directed by Nir Toyb showed how the Israeli secret service and the army planned the attack and prepared the pilots for any eventuality and the actual June 7 1981 raid on the Tammouz reactor, west of Baghdad.

Eight F-16 US fighter jets were used in the attack and the pilots were trained for low-altitude flights in secret in Cyprus and the Red Sea.

Tammouz was beleived to be key to an Iraqi nuclear bomb programme. The first Israeli bomb dropped weighed 900 kilograms.

The youngest of the pilots in the operation, Ilan Ramon, died in February 2003 when the Columbia space shuttle disintegrated.

The Israeli attack drew wide international condemnation. It was severely criticised by the United States and in the UN Security Council.

04/18/2007 21:50 GMT

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