The Israeli Air Force marked the 11-year anniversary of its destruction of Bashar Assad’s secret nuclear reactor, in a ceremony that saw special markings placed on the warplanes that took part in the strike.
The strike against the reactor in the Deir el-Zour region of Syria took place on the night between September 5 and 6, 2007, but was only officially acknowledged by Israel earlier this year. The reactor had become operational a short time earlier, leading then-prime minister Ehud Olmert to order its destruction.
Three squadrons took part in the attack, dubbed by the military “Operation Outside the Box”: Squadron 69, known as “Hapatishim,” or “The Hammers” flying F-15i fighters; Squadron 119, “Ha’atalef,” or “The Bat” and Squadron 253, “The Negev,” flying F-16is.
The ceremony at the Hatzerim Air Force Base, west of Beersheba, saw the marking of the planes from squadrons 69 and 253. Squadron 119’s planes will be marked in a separate ceremony on September 14.
Pilots who took part in the operation, technical crews who armed the planes in 2007 and the commander of Squadron 69, Lt. Col. G., placed on the planes stickers bearing the symbol of the operation, the army said in a statement.
The symbol includes a triangle, symbolizing an attack and painted in the colors of the Syrian flag, with a radioactivity symbol at its center, symbolizing the nuclear reactor.