Israel Destroys Iraqi Nuclear Reactor-Operation Opera-Trento Tells The Story At Mt. Carmel, Israel

Join Tom Trento and Dr. Ron ‘Roni’ Wexler at Mt. Carmel, Israel for an modern day story defying all odds in taking out an Iraqi nuclear reactor in June of 1981.

In 1981, Saddam Hussein was a heartbeat away from having his Osirik Nuclear reactor go operational.

The story begins at Mt. Carmel, in the Plains of Jezreel, where the Israeli fighter jets began their journey making the world a safer place.

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 kilometers southeast of Baghdad.

Israel launched the attack in June 1981. Eight F-16A Fighting Falcon fighter bombers, escorted by six F-15A Eagles, took off from an air base in southern Israel. The need for secrecy meant the airborne strike force couldn’t refuel in midair and the jets were forced to briefly cross Jordanian and Saudi Arabian airspace.

The planes flew low over western Iraq to stay off the country’s air defense radar network, flying as low as 150 feet. Once near the target the eight F-16As, each armed with two unguided 2,000 pound Mk.84 bombs, gained altitude and began their attack run.

Air Force Magazine explains what happened next:

The F-16s swooped down on the Osirak complex at 6:35 p.m. Iraqi time. From first bomb to last, only 80 seconds elapsed. Smoke and flames rose into the air as 14 of the 16 bombs hit inside the dome and destroyed the reactor.

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