According to the report, the attack was launched with American approval on September 6 after Washington was shown evidence the material was nuclear related, the well-placed sources said.
The report said the sources confirmed that samples taken from Syria for testing had been identified as North Korean. The findings suggested Syria may have joined North Korea and Iran in seeking to acquire nuclear weapons.
Israeli special forces had been gathering intelligence in Syria for several months, Israeli sources told the Sunday Times. The nuclear material found was at a compound near Dayr az-Zwar in the north.
According to the report, United States President George W Bush was shown evidence over the summer that North Korean personnel were at the site. A senior American source told the Sunday Times that proof of nuclear-related activities was required before the US could approve an attack.
The report said a number of North Koreans were believed dead in the strike, based on reports reaching Asian governments about conversations between Chinese and North Korean officials.
A trip by Syrian officials to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, last week, reinforced the view that the two nations were coordinating their response.