Israel releases spy satellite images of Syria's Palmyra

By: AFP      Published: 10:24 PM, 25 Aug, 2020
Israel releases spy satellite images of Syria's Palmyra

Israel on Tuesday unveiled detailed images taken by a new reconnaissance satellite over the Roman ruins of Palmyra in neighbouring Syria, an Iranian ally regularly targeted by Israeli air strikes.

The images are the first to be made public since the Ofek 16 satellite was launched in July, with Israeli public radio reporting it would be used to monitor the nuclear activities of Israel's arch-enemy Iran.

The satellite is an "electro-optical reconnaissance satellite with advanced capabilities", according to the defence ministry, which said it is testing the device to ascertain its "performance level".

Israel has carried out numerous raids against Syria since the latter's civil war broke out in 2011, mainly against the Tehran-aligned Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah and Iranian forces supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Recent months have seen a surge in air raids against Syrian or pro-Iranian forces, attributed to or claimed by the Jewish state.

"Israel knows how to defend itself against enemies near and far," said Benny Gantz, the Jewish state's defence minister and alternate prime minister, during the unveiling of the satellite images on Tuesday.

The technology developed by the government and military industry is vital to "maintain Israel's security", said Gantz, noting that hundreds of millions of shekels had been invested in the space cameras.