CIA: Iraq Planned to Bomb Israel With Bio-weapons in 1991

Amos Harel
Daniel Sobelman
Amos Harel
Daniel Sobelman

A declassified CIA document from 1992 says Saddam Hussein had a secret plan to use biological weapons against Israel in the first stage of the 1991 Gulf War, but was unable to carry out his intentions. The 1992 CIA dispatch was made public over the weekend by the National Security Archive, a research organization, and reported by the French news agency.

Israeli security sources said they had not heard of the report until now. They said Israel had only had general warnings about Iraqi intentions to use non-conventional weapons against Israel, and at no stage did they have reports, as stated in the CIA document, that Iraq sent three MiG-21 planes to bomb Israeli targets with regular bombs so as to check whether they were able to penetrate the Israeli air defense systems.

The CIA document said that in the second stage, three more MiGs, armed with conventional weaponry, were to be sent to Israel as a diversion, together with a Sukhoi airplane armed with biological weapons that would fly very low off the ground to disperse a biological agent.

But the operation failed during the first stage, when the three MiGs were downed over the Persian Gulf a short time after takeoff, said the document.

There were somewhat more specific warnings that an Iraqi suicide pilot would try to fly an explosives-laden plane into Israel to strike at a major city, but no such attempt was known to have been made.

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