Is­rael launches an all- out as­sault

The Egyp­tian air force is wiped out at a stroke

BBC History Magazine - - Six-Day War -

The war started at 7.45am, dra­mat­i­cally and de­ci­sively, when the en­tire Is­raeli air force ( just 12 war­planes re­mained be­hind) headed off in Op­er­a­tion Fo­cus, fly­ing low to avoid Egyp­tian radar, and wiped out nearly all the Egyp­tian war­planes on the ground.

As the Is­raeli air force chief pro­claimed: “The spirit of Is­rael’s he­roes ac­com­pa­nies us to bat­tle… From Joshua Bin-Nun, King David, the Mac­cabees and the fight­ers of 1948 and 1956, we shall draw the strength and courage to strike the Egyp­tians.”

Egyp­tian com­man­der Field Mar­shal Ab­del Hakim Amer, on be­ing told a counter-at­tack was im­pos­si­ble as all his war­planes were de­stroyed, “com­pletely col­lapsed. I had never seen him like that be­fore,” re­called a sub­or­di­nate. With 298 Egyp­tian war­planes de­stroyed by the end of the day, Is­rael had al­ready ef­fec­tively won the war as, without air cover, the Egyp­tian army in the Si­nai desert was doomed. Is­raeli tanks joined the fray, push­ing to­wards the Suez Canal.

Iraqi and Jor­da­nian war­planes joined the fight and Is­rael wiped out those air forces too. When Jor­dan started shelling Is­raeli po­si­tions around Jerusalem, Is­rael told King Hus­sein: “The war is be­tween us and the Egyp­tians. If you don’t join in, noth­ing will hap­pen to you.” But Hus­sein’s sol­diers in­ten­si­fied shelling and sealed their fate. Hus­sein was on his own. As Nasser’s air force col­lapsed, he had an in­cred­i­ble con­ver­sa­tion with Hus­sein, in­form­ing him: “Be strong. To­day we have sent all our aero­planes against Is­rael. Since early this morn­ing our air force has been bomb­ing the Is­raeli air force.” Within a few days, Hus­sein’s army was gone, the king lament­ing: “I have never re­ceived a more crush­ing blow than that.”

Egyp­tian war­planes lie de­stroyed on their run­ways af­ter Is­rael’s pre- emp­tive strike

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