WATCH: Israel Successfully Launches New Ofek-16 Spy Satellite

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Israel’s Defense Ministry and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) announced the successful launch of its new Ofek 16 spy satellite on Monday.

“The Defense Ministry and Israel Aerospace Industries successfully launched into space the reconnaissance satellite ‘Ofek-16,’ which entered into its orbit,” the ministry said in a statement.

The reconnaissance satellite, launched via a Shavit launch vehicle at the Palmachim airbase in central Israel at 4 a.m., will undergo a serious of tests designed to verify its integrity and performance as it orbits around the earth.

Amnon Harari, the head of Israel’s Defense Ministry’s Space and Satellite Administration, said on Monday morning that the new Ofek 16 satellite “will be used to monitor threats facing the State of Israel which require constant monitoring.”

“Ofek 16 joins all [previous satellites]…which are being used to monitor threats against the State of Israel, which as you know are sometimes far away and immediate, so they require constant monitoring, which is done by those satellites,” Harari said.

“Our network of satellites lets us watch the entire Middle East — and even a little more than that,” said Shlomi Sudari, the head of IAI’s space program.

The satellite is currently in orbit and transmitting data. Pictures from the satelite are expected to arrive in Israel by next week.

“The success of the Ofek 16 satellite very much increases our ability to act against Israel’s enemies, near and far alike. It greatly expands our ability to act on land, at sea, in the air and also in space,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)