New Satellite Imagery Bares Jericho Missile Site

Some of Israel’s missile sites had their first airing in spring 2000, when space imaging Ikonos, the world’s first commercial 1-meter remote sensing satellite homed in on the “Zakaria” Sedot Micha bases, 45 km south of Tel Aviv. debkafile‘s analysts note the timing of their photos’ first release in Washington: close to the 29th anniversary of the Arab-Israel Yom Kippur War and during the run-up to Gulf War II.
The only space-based camera to capture the chronology of the September 11 attacks on America, Ikonos imagery reports three Israeli Air Force squadrons equipped with Jericho missiles at Zakaria. US analysts to whom the photos were submitted claim those missiles are nuclear-tipped. They also detect 100 missile emplacements of Jericho-1 (450 km range) and advanced Jericho-2 missiles (nearly 1,500 km range).
In December 1990, just before the Gulf War Jericho-2 missiles, housed in hollowed-out caves, were brought to readiness for firing.
The new imagery shows that facilities previously associated with Israel’s intermediate range Jericho Missile base are more likely Israel’s central ammunition depot, supporting the Tel Nof base near Rehovot, while 23 to 50 hardened missile shelters capable of housing the IRBMs have been identified.
The question Ikonos cameras cannot answer is which missiles are deployed at Sedot Micha.
One possibility is that they are all Jericho-2, assuming the removal of Jericho-1 from service. A second is that an undiscovered, more secret base has been built elsewhere for the Jericho-2, a secret not easy to conceal in a small country. The same argument applies to the possibility that Jericho launchers have been positioned in the field. It is also possible that both Jericho-1 and Jericho-2 are located at Sedot Micha (Zakaria) – although not enough probable shelters have surfaced to accommodate both.
debkafile offers three comments on the release of these photos and analysis by US research institute, Global Security:
1. It was precisely timed for the days leading up to the Yom Kippur War anniversary and the approaching US assault on Iraq.
2. It does not break new ground.
3. It suggests that the sites photographed no longer serve Jericho-2 and that a secret as yet undiscovered site houses this more advanced missile.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Font Resize
Contrast