France poised to launch spy satellite, helps tighten anti-Hamas blockade
The French spy satellite Helios 2B was scheduled for launching from French Guinea Thursday, Dec. 17, but postponed shortly before liftoff, debkafile‘s military and intelligence sources report. The new satellite will be able to map and relay images in real time from battle zones and track threatening terrorist movements. It can also monitor nuclear facilities and materials. Helios 2B is designed to support the French forces fighting in Afghanistan, the officers serving with UNIFIL in Lebanon and, according to French military sources, monitoring events in Iran as well.
France is extending its Middle East commitments in more than one key arena.
Our military sources caught up with the head of the French Directorate of Military Intelligence (DRM), General Benoit Boujis, Tuesday, Dec. 15, as he watched giant Egyptian cranes lift armored iron plates 18 meters long and 50 cm thick and drive them into the ground along the Philadelphi border which divides the Gaza Strip from Egyptian Sinai.
French officers are working alongside Americans and Egyptians on the construction of Iron Blind, a perpendicular armored iron barrier, which ranks as the most ambitious military project ever attempted for obstructing tunnels carrying smuggled arms to a terrorist organization.
It is managed from a special headquarters located in the US embassy in Cairo with US and French officers stationed at its forward command in the northern Sinai town of El Arish.
Gen. Boujis called on the Cairo headquarters before heading to the site, where US, Egyptian and French
officers are overseeing the work, which also entails inserting sensors between the plates for alerting security forces to attempts to tamper with them. Laser instruments are used to place them with maximum precision.
Our military sources further report that by Thursday, Dec. 17, the plates had been dug in along a 5.4 km section of the 14 km-Philadelphi border route. US and French intelligence tacticians view Iron Blind as a ground-breaking experiment which, if successful in blocking the Palestinian Hamas’ arms traffic beneath the Egyptian-Palestinian border, may be carried over to other theaters of war for keeping smuggled war materials out of terrorist hands.