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US Researchers: Suspected Syrian Nuclear Site Dismantled

A U.S.-based research institute says new satellite images show a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor site has been completely dismantled since its apparent bombing in September by Israeli aircraft.

Analysts at the Institute for Science and International Security say the images taken Wednesday show tractor marks where the facility stood before the September 6 air strike. They say the images also show what appears to be a trench that might have held buried pipelines connecting the suspected reactor facility to a water supply station.

The analysts say the cleanup will hinder a proposed investigation of the site by international nuclear inspectors. They say the dismantling of the building at such a rapid pace also suggests Syria may be trying to conceal evidence of what was there.

Damascus has denied the air strike targeted a nuclear facility. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Israel targeted an "unused military building."

Earlier this week, the Institute for Science and International Security said satellite images of the Syrian site taken about a month before the Israeli air strike showed construction that resembled the early stages of a small nuclear reactor.

Former U.N. weapons inspector David Albright, who heads the institute, and researcher Paul Brannan said the imagery showed a tall building that may have housed a reactor under construction. They said it was similar in design to a North Korean nuclear reactor.

Israel recently lifted a media blackout on news reports about the raid, confirming that its warplanes hit what it called a "military target" deep inside Syrian territory.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.