Nuclear watchdog warns Syria over 'reactor'

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The Independent Online

The nuclear watchdog has said that a Syrian complex bombed by Israel resembled an undeclared nuclear reactor and warned the country to co-operate more with UN inspectors.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that "significant" numbers of uranium particles were found at the site in June, but that it was not enough to prove a reactor was there. The confidential report, published yesterday and obtained by Reuters, said the IAEA would ask Syria to show debris and equipment it removed from the site after the air raid in September 2007.

The US says the target was a nascent reactor meant to produce plutonium for atomic bombs. Syria denies this. Syria says the uranium traces came from the munitions used to bomb it. Damascus has also dismissed as fabricated the satellite imagery and other intelligence used in the IAEA inquiry.

The report also stressed that the investigation had been "severely hampered by [Israel's] unilateral use of force" and by a US failure to hand over relevant intelligence.