1969-1970: War of Attrition

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HistoryCentral.com > World History > Middle East > 1969-1970: War of Attrition

1969-1970: War of Attrition

On October 21 1967, the Israeli destroyer "Eilat" was targeted 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," which lasted until August 1970.

This war was characterized by escalating artillery duels, air raids, and commando missions. 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 missiles close to the Canal. Within weeks of the cease-fire, the Egyptians violated this agreement.