War of Attrition

Israeli Soldiers Along the Suez Canal

During a three-year period, Israel and Egypt fought a "War of Attrition" along the Suez Canal. In the course of the war over 500 Israelis were killed.

On October 21 1967, the Israeli destroyer "Eilat" was destroyed by an Egyptian surface-to-surface missile. Forty-seven Israeli sailors were killed. Israel retaliated by shelling Egyptian refineries along the Suez Canal. Thus began the "War of Attrition." The War of Attrition lasted for almost three years, until August 1970.

This war was characterized by escalating artillery duels, aircraft attacks, and commando raids. Over 500 Israelis were killed. The war only came to end after there had been a direct confrontation between Israeli and Soviet forces, in which Israel downed six Soviet aircraft. Terms of the agreement called for the Egyptians not to install any new Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) sites close to the canal. Within weeks of the cease-fire the Egyptians had violated this agreement.