Israel's military has for the first time admitted that it bombed a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007 and said the strike should be a warning to Iran that it would not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

The military released previously classified cockpit footage, photographs and intelligence documents about the air strike on the Al-Kubar facility near Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria.

It said the reactor was being constructed with help from North Korea and had been months away from activation.

Amos Yadlin, Israel's military intelligence chief at the time, said on Israel Radio that, even with a functioning reactor, it would have taken Syria years to build a nuclear weapon.

Israel's decision to go public comes after repeated calls in recent months by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the United States and international community to take tougher action on Iran, Syria's ally.

Mr Netanyahu said that Israel was determined to prevent its enemies from obtaining nuclear weapons.

"The Israeli government, the Israel Defense Forces and the Mossad prevented Syria from developing nuclear capability. They are worthy of full praise for this. Israel's policy was and remains consistent - to prevent our enemies from arming themselves with nuclear weapons," he wrote on Twitter.

Earlier, Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said on Twitter: "The (2007) operation and its success made clear that Israel will never allow nuclear weaponry to be in the hands of those who threaten its existence - Syria then, and Iran today."

Iran, which says its nuclear programme has only peaceful aims, signed a 2015 deal under which it accepted curbs on the programme in return for sanctions relief.

US President Donald Trump and Mr Netanyahu have both been critical of the deal.

Satellite image of the site of the suspected nuclear reactor in Al-Kibar, Syria

The Israeli military described in detail events leading up to the night of 5-6 September 2007 in which, it said, eight warplanes, F-16s and F-15s, carried out the mission after taking off from the Ramon and Hatzerim air bases.

They flew to Deir al-Zor region, 450km northwest of Damascus, and dropped 18 tonnes of munitions on the site, it said.

Mr Yadlin said Israel decided at the time against acknowledging the raid on the reactor so as not to provoke Syrian President Bashar al-Assad into retaliating. "No core. No war," Mr Yadlin said about Israel's goal.