Israeli telecom satellite sent into space: statement

Israeli telecom satellite sent into space: statement
In this handout photo released by ESA-CNES-ARIANESPACE on August 30, 2013 shows the launch of an Ariane-5 rocket, carrying two telecommunication satellites Eutelsat 25B/ Es’hail1 (France/Qatar) and GSAT-7 (India) from Kourou space base in the French overseas department of Guiana.

JERUSALEM - A rocket carrying an Israeli communications satellite has been successfully launched from a Russian facility in Kazakhstan, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) said in a statement on Sunday.

It said that the AMOS-4 satellite lifted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome atop a Russian Zenit rocket on Saturday night.

The 4.3-tonne AMOS-4 would provide "broadcast and communication services to Europe, the Middle East, the United States east coast, Africa, Russia, and southeast Asia," IAI said.

Israel has previously had three communications satellites sent into space, the last being the AMOS-3, launched from Kazakhstan in 2008, also on a Zenit.

Israel also has its own Shavit rocket which has put six spy satellites into orbit, most recently the Ofek-9 which is reportedly capable of monitoring arch-foe Iran.

Israel, which has the Middle East's sole, albeit undeclared, nuclear arsenal, is also believed to have a stock of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

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