syria strike map 224.88.
(photo credit: ISIS [file])
The alleged Syrian nuclear facility that was destroyed by the IAF on September 6 was photographed by an American company as early as 2003, The New York Times reported on Saturday.
The paper quoted a senior US intelligence official as saying that American analysts examined the site several years ago, and had been uncertain as to whether it was in fact a nuclear facility.
Independent analysts who have looked over the satellite image said the structure's construction may have begun as early as 2001 - a theory with which the intelligence official said he agreed.
John E. Pike, who directs a private group that analyzes satellite images, GlobalSecurity.org, said it was "uncommon to see such activity in the middle of nowhere," adding that American spy satellites and analysts had watched the site for years.
North Korea's alleged involvement in the project could have started shortly before the new millennium, the Times report said.
The fact that the infrastructure had been built at least four years ago did not mean the facility had always been used for the same purposes as it was being used for immediately before the Israeli strike, former OC Air Force Maj.-Gen. (res.) Eitan Ben Eliyahu told Channel 10 on Saturday evening.