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Operation Opera - 40 years of attack in Iraq

Operation Opera, also known as Operation Babylon, was a surprise Israeli air strike carried out on 7 June 1981, which destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor under construction 17 kilometres southeast of Baghdad.

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Meet our speaker: Zeev Raz.


In the late 1980s, the former fighter pilot Zeev Raz, commander of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) Flight School and he has no doubt that “if they are sent, they will execute it perfectly”.

The man who in 1981 led the attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak has doubts, however, regarding the wisdom of such a mission.

Colonel Raz (ret) took off on June 7, 1981, leading eight F-16 fighter-bombers on a three-hour round trip over enemy territory. On the way they dropped 16 tons of explosives, obliterating Saddam Hussein’s reactor.


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