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Israel launches new spy satellite as Iran tensions continue

Minister of Defence and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz hailed the development [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 July, 2020

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Israel on Monday launched a new spy satellite that it said would provide high-quality surveillance for its military intelligence.
Israel launched a new reconnaissance satellite early on Monday, the defence ministry said, its latest asset to be deployed against arch-enemy Iran.

"The Israel Ministry of Defence and Israel Aerospace Industries have successfully launched the 'Ofek 16' reconnaissance satellite" at 4:00 am local time (0100 GMT), the ministry said in a statement.

The "electro-optical reconnaissance satellite with advanced capabilities... will undergo a series of tests", it added.

Defence Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz hailed the development.

"The successful launch of the 'Ofek 16' satellite overnight is yet another extraordinary achievement" for Israel's defence sector, he said.

"Technological superiority and intelligence capabilities are essential to the security of the State of Israel... We will continue to strengthen and maintain Israel's capabilities on every front, in every place."

Neither statement gave further details on the satellite's mission, but Israeli public radio said it would be used to monitor Iran's nuclear activities.

Read also: Iran says accord under negotiation with China 'not secret'

Israel has long sworn to prevent its nemesis from obtaining atomic weapons, although Tehran denies its nuclear programme has any military dimension.


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