Israel launched an advanced spy satellite into orbit yesterday, giving it a sophisticated new tool in its efforts to collect intelligence on archenemy Iran and other regional adversaries.
Israeli space officials said the Ofek-7 satellite can pick up even small objects from space, and that information will be shared with the U.S.
Senior officials from Israel’s space program said the satellite will significantly improve Israel’s intelligence capabilities, allowing it to view objects as small as an average TV set.
“It’s true that this helps the Iranian issue,” Haim Eshed, chief of the defence ministry’s space department, told Army Radio. “And it’s clear above all else that this satellite is a very significant addition to the ability to gather intelligence.”
Israel considers Iran its main strategic threat, charging that Iran’s nuclear program is designed to build atomic weapons. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said repeatedly that Israel should be “wiped off the map.” Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
The new satellite is “one of the most sophisticated in the world,” military analyst Yiftah Shapir said.