The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog group, Mohamed ElBaradei, has criticized the United States for withholding intelligence that it says showed the construction of a nuclear reactor in Syria that Israel bombed in September. The International Atomic Energy Agency chief was critical of both the US delay in releasing the information and of Israel’s bombing of the site before the IAEA could inspect it. Syrian officials say the site was an unused military facility under construction.
On Thursday, top US intelligence officials presented lawmakers evidence they said proved Syria was building a nuclear reactor with North Korean assistance. Among the evidence they displayed were pictures, said to have been obtained by Israel, allegedly taken inside the facility, showing the reactor core being built. Officials said the US believed the site was nearing operational capability, but they declared “low confidence” the site played a role in a Syrian nuclear weapons program.