Syria's Nuclear Site

Newsweek has obtained a new satellite picture (courtesy of the U.S. commercial space-imaging company Geo-Eye) of the remote site in Syria along the Euphrates River where Israel is believed to have carried out a bombing raid on September 6. The picture was taken on September 16, 2003, and appears to show construction activity around a large, squarish building. The structure is at the same geographical coordinates, and appears to be identical in design to a building featured in more recent satellite pictures, taken by a different commercial company, of the purported site of the Israeli bombing raid.

Satellite pictures taken earlier this week show that the building was razed at some point between September and this week, and indicate that the terrain at the site was apparently heavily bulldozed. Neither the American nor the Israeli government has explained precisely what they believe was at the site. But nuclear experts say the building shown in the September 2003 and more recent pre-demolition pictures appears from the outside to resemble North Korea's principal nuclear facility. The new September 2003 picture suggests that the building was erected several years before the recent Israeli raid, and raises questions as to whether Western intelligence agencies, including the CIA and, until recently, the Israelis themselves, missed indications of a secret Syrian nuclear project over a period of years.