Israel obviously felt itself pushing against a deadline.''From the most reliable sources,'' the Government statement said, ''we learned of two dates when the reactor would be completed and put into operation.The official Israeli announcement of the raid said that none of the foreign specialists known to have been working at the facility had been hurt. (France, which was building the reactor with Italy, announced that a French technician, identified only as Mr. Page A7.) Enriched Uranium Reported at Site At least 25 pounds of enriched uranium were reported to have been on the site.The Israeli pilots, all of whom returned safely, according to the announcement, were said to have seen secondary explosions, indicating the presence of a large quantity of inflammable or explosive material. (The French Foreign Ministry said that there was no nuclear fuel in the facility at the time of the attack.Before the facility was destroyed, experts believed that Iraq could have had nuclear weapons by 1985.
The reactor, known as the Osirak plant, was damaged last Sept.
''I think that there was no other way, because with a country such as Iraq under its present leadership, you couldn't even plan for a balance of fear.
Suppose they would have reached the stage where they would have had their weapons, and suppose Israel would then have done the same.
JERUSALEM, June 8— Israeli planes yesterday bombed and destroyed an atomic reactor near Baghdad that would have enabled Iraq to manufacture nuclear weapons, the Israeli Government announced today.
Prime Minister Menachem Begin justified the action as having been essential to prevent the ''evil'' President Saddam Hussein of Iraq from attacking Israeli cities with atomic bombs of the type dropped on Hiroshima during World War II.