Iraq says it’ll sue Israel for bombing Saddam’s nuclear reactor in 1981

A high-ranking Iraqi official said on Tuesday that his country intends to seek financial compensation for Israel’s destruction of the nuclear reactor at Osirak 35 years ago.

Israeli Air Force F-16 and F-15 fighter jets struck the French-made reactor, located 10 miles outside Baghdad, on June 7, 1981. The attack, codenamed Operation Opera, destroyed the reactor of Saddam Hussein’s belligerent regime, which Israel had feared would soon be capable of producing nuclear weapons.

Humam Hamoudi, first deputy speaker of the Iraqi parliament, said in a press statement published by the Iraqi news agency AlSumaria: “Iraq is determined to sue Israel for bombing the reactor in July 1981, and to force it to pay financial compensation for the attack.”

Hamoudi’s statement said there was a need to call attention to the issue following the 35th anniversary of the operation.

The Iraqi official called on the UN to activate Security Council Resolution 487, which condemned Operation Opera. Hamudi said the UN decision “gives Iraq the right to request compensation from Israel for its attack on the reactor, which was meant for the development and advancement of the country.”

In the resolution, passed on November 13, 1981, the UN Security Council demanded that “Israel, in view of its international responsibility for its act of aggression, pay prompt and adequate compensation for the material damage and loss of life suffered as a result of the said act.”

Hamoudi isn’t the first Iraqi official to claim his country was going to sue Israel over the Operation Opera. In 2010, Iraqi lawmaker Mohammed Naji Mohammed, said that the Iraqi prime minister and Foreign Ministry had approached the United Nations with a demand for compensation.


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