June 7, 1981: Israel bombs Iraqi nuclear facility
The United Nations General Assembly “strongly condemns Israel for its premeditated and unprecedented act of aggression in violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international conduct, which constitutes a new and dangerous escalation in the threat to international peace and security.” – UNGA resolution 36/27 (1981)
On this day in 1981, Israeli Air Forces launched a surprise airstrike on Iraq’s nuclear facility near Baghdad, destroying the Osirak nuclear reactor which had been purchased from France. This was the first attack in the world against a nuclear reactor.
Officially, Israel’s explanation for the attack was to prevent Iraq from producing nuclear weapons, but the Iraqi and French governments denied that there was any military purpose to the reactor. Unlike Israel, Iraq was a party to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and was deemed to be following its obligations.
Israel’s attack was strongly condemned by the United Nations Security Council as a “clear violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international conduct,” who called on Iraq to be compensated for the damages. A similar resolution was passed by the UN General Assembly, which condemned Israel and called on the Security Council to investigate Israel’s own nuclear activities.