Israel’s Defense Ministry has made public for the first time images captured by its “Ofek 16” spy satellite, which was successfully launched in July. The images were taken over Syria and show the Palmyra world heritage site, including its renowned Roman theater.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a statement that “the State of Israel knows how to defend against its enemies both near and far, as well as to protect its citizens everywhere, from any given location. The technological means we develop in the Ministry of Defense, together with our industries, are effective and significant tools in maintaining Israel’s security. We will continue to work and promote Israel’s technological advance and edge, an element that is essential in contending with the many challenges we face.”

Meanwhile, the Israel Space Agency has unveiled a national initiative to manufacture satellite cameras, a joint venture by the Defense Ministry and Elbit Systems.

“The national infrastructure, which was founded with an investment of hundreds of millions of shekels, includes laboratories for the manufacture of lenses and mirrors, as well as a vacuum cell that mimics conditions in space and was used to test the [‘Ofek 16’] satellite camera before it was launched,” said the Defense Ministry.

The “Ofek 16” satellite will be declared fully operational in the “near future” according to the ministry.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

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