pilots after osirak bomb.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The same day that the New York Times broke a story about what it claimed was a massive Israeli air force drill meant to simulate an attack against nuclear installations in Iran, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Colonel (res.) Aviam Sela, who is said to have been the architect behind Israel's attack against Iraq's nuclear reactor, Ma'ariv reported on Sunday.
According to the report, while government officials confirmed to the paper that Sela and Olmert met on Friday at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem, they downplayed the importance of the meeting.
The paper reported that Sela was the brains behind "Operation Opera," which when carried out in 1981 resulted in the destruction of the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq. The report claimed that Sela was considered one of the foremost authorities on in-flight refueling for warplanes, and was even tapped to become the commander of the air force, but such plans were scuttled due to his involvement in the Jonathan Pollard affair.
The report speculates that Olmert invited Sela to the meeting to hear from the colonel his thoughts about the chances that Israel would succeed in attacking Iran following the report of the large-scale IAF military exercise in the Mediterranean Sea.
On Friday, The New York Times reported that Israel carried out a major military drill over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in the first week of June that US sources say was apparently a rehearsal for a potential attack on Iran's nuclear sites. According to the report, more than 100 IAF F-16 and F-15 fighter jets took part in the exercise.