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Israeli PM Says He Apologized to Turkey for Airspace Violation


Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says he apologized to his Turkish counterpart last week for possibly violating Turkey's airspace.

The remarks were the closest the Israeli leader has come to commenting about a mysterious Israeli air strike on Syria in September.

Mr. Olmert described the apology during a meeting Sunday with his Cabinet. He said he told the Turkish prime minister in London that, if Israeli planes did enter Turkish airspace, it was not done deliberately.

Turkey lodged a protest with Israel after discovering aircraft fuel tanks in its territory. Turkey says the tanks were dropped by Israeli warplanes during the September 6 airstrike on Syria.

Israel has given no details of the raid or officially acknowledged carrying it out.

Syria says the target of the Israeli airstrike was an unused military building, and not a nuclear facility as some analysts have speculated.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency complained Sunday that Israel had taken the law into its own hands with the airstrike.

Mohammed ElBaradei said neither Israel nor the United States had provided the IAEA with evidence that the site was a nuclear facility.

A U.S.-based research institute said last week that satellite images of the facility apparently bombed by Israel resembled the early stages of a nuclear reactor. The institute said debris was later completely removed from the site.

U.S. lawmakers pushed Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill last week to provide information about the airstrike. Hill declined to comment on reports that North Korea may have provided Syria with nuclear technology.

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