1973 Yom Kippur War
On Yom Kippur 1973, Israel was surprised by a coordinated Syrian and Egyptian attack. Over 2,000 Israelis were killed and 10,000 wounded. Yet Israel rallied and the war ended with Israel at Kilometer 101 on the road to Cairo.
On October 6, 1973 -- Yom Kippur -- the Egyptians and Syrians launched a surprise attack against Israel. Although there were a number of warning signs, Israeli analysts did not believe that the Arabs would actually invade until they had reached strategic parity, and the warning signs were ignored. On the morning of October 6, Israeli leaders received information that verified an impending attack. By then it was too late to mobilize the reserves. It was also decided, because of American pressure, not to strike first, not to launch a preemptive attack. In the initial assault, the Egyptians successfully crossed the canal and were able to capture most of the Israeli installations on the canal's east bank. Attempts to counterattack were repulsed by the Egyptians using anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. On the Syrian front, troops managed to penetrate Israeli defenses on the Golan Heights. However, the hastily activated reserve forces were able to hold back the Syrian onslaught. As the war continued, Israel was able to finally take the offensive on the Syrian front, where soldiers advanced to Sasa and captured the summit of Mt. Hermon. On the Egyptian front, Israeli troops successfully crossed the Suez Canal and surrounded the third Egyptian army. As the immensity of the Israeli threat became clear, an immediate cease-fire was called for. After a brief confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union, a cease-fire went into effect on October 22. The cost of the war to Israel was severe; over 2,000 Israelis were killed, and 10,000 wounded.