In June 1981, faced with a nuclear
threat from Saddam Hussein's Iraq, Israel resolved to eliminate
a French-built, Baghdad-based reactor named "Osirak,"
which was producing weapons-grade plutonium. This is the extraordinary
true story of one of the most daring, and successful, military
Israeli Air Force General David Ivry spent
four years devising the precision attack on Iraq's Osirak reactor,
the first time in history that a nuclear reactor was bombed.
The Israeli pilots who performed this
mission were: Zeev Raz, Amos Yadlin, Dobbi Yaffe, Hagai Katz,
Amir Nachumi, Iftach Spector, Relik Shafir, and Ilan Ramon.
The pilots each flew modified F-16 aircraft.
The sleek, technologically advanced F-16s flew just 100 feet
off the ground through hot, unstable desert air for 600 miles
to Baghdad in order to avoid enemy radar.
The aircraft carried 2000-pound MK-84
The bombs completely destroyed the reactor.
The nations of the world widely condemned the attack.
A week after the coalition's successful
invasion of Iraq in 1991, Dick Cheney sent a satellite photo
of the bombed-out reactor to General Ivry, who had been appointed
as Israel's ambassador to the United States. The photos has a
note, "With thanks and appreciation. You made our job easier
in Desert Storm."
Pilot Ilan Ramon was later chosen to be
Israel's first astronaut. He perished in the Columbia space shuttle
accident in February 2003.