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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Olmert met with planner of Osirak attack

Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert met on Friday with General (Ret.) Aviam Sela (link in Hebrew), the planner of Operation Opera, the attack on Iraq's Osirak reactor in 1981. The Prime Minister's office has confirmed the meeting, which took place in Olmert's Jerusalem residence. According to the Israeli daily Maariv, Sela is considered the father of the idea of refuelling jets in flight, and would have become the commander of the Air Force but for his involvement in the Jonathan Pollard affair.

Sela, 63, was the head of the Air Force's planning department at the time of Operation Opera. He also commanded the destruction of Syria's missile silos in Lebanon during the First Lebanon War in 1982.

According to Maariv, Sela had gone to the United States for studies in 1984 and was urged to meet Pollard. In 1987, he was given command over the Tel Nof Air Force base, but he resigned shortly thereafter, and the United States pressured Israel to keep Sela out of the army. He went into business, planning data systems and advanced weapons systems. During the Second Lebanon War, Sela volunteered to help his good friend (then IDF commander) Dan Halutz with strategic planning.

The picture at the top of this post is of the Osirak pilots just after their return. At bottom right is mission commander Zev Raz and at top left is Ilan Ramon who later died in the Space Shuttle disaster.


At 12:18 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel lost a great man. I hope Ehud Olmert is doing more than just going through the motions. If he wants to remembered as more than just a bumbling crook by the country, he will act on whatever advice he's been offered by Aviam Sela. Yes, Israel would be exposed to reprisals from Iran and its proxies but that's definitely preferable to the alternative. Plainly put - Israelis will be willing to pay the price to ensure the state's survival or they will forfeit their country. Israelis are willing to do it whatever their timorous and feckless leadership thinks of their capacity for sacrifice for the nation's future.


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