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Date TimeAugust 03, 2019
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How Israel and Iran Teamed up to Crush Iraqs Nuclear Bomb Program
Now, the famous Israeli Operation Opera that destroyed the Osirak reactor was still nine months away. At dawn on September 30, 1980 four American-made F-4E Phantom jets screamed low over central Iraq, each laden with air-to-air missiles and three thousand pounds of bombs. Prior to entering Iraqi airspace they had rendezvoused for aerial refueling with a Boeing 707 tanker escorted by two more advanced F-14 Tomcat fighters—the type immortalized six years later in the film Top Gun. And to complete the eighties action-movie vibe, they were embarked on a mission codenamed ‘Operation Scorched Sword.’The skimming Phantoms climbed briefly to higher altitude so as to appear on Iraqi radars, before ducking back down to hit the deck. But while two decoy Phantoms maintained their trajectory towards Baghdad, the other two veered southwards towards the real target: Iraq’s Osirak light-water nuclear reactor.(This first appeared in July 2019.)

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