Sunday, June 7, 2009
The Israeli surprise attack against the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor took place this day in 1981.
The mission was a complete success; operationally, and politically on both domestic and international fronts.
In a "surgical strike" deep within hostile territory, a squadron of heavily fueled, and heavily armed F-16As, with a group of F-15As providing air cover and fighter support, eliminated the reactor site, and returned to friendly territory without having to refuel.
The Osirak reactor complex was put out of commission, and the Iraqi nuclear program set back considerably. It has been suggested that the Israeli attack on the reactor prevented Iraq from using radioactive weaponry during the Iran-Iraq war, and Operation Desert Storm (the first Gulf war).
The Osirak facility remained in its damaged state until the Gulf War, when a prolonged series of US air strikes finally destroyed the site completely.