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1967 Middle East War

Pre-emptive strike: Israel launches air attacks against Egyptian air bases ahead of a ground offensive

At 0745 Israeli time, Israel launches Operation Focus and the first wave of air attacks against 11 Egyptian airfields, destroying dozens of planes parked on the runways.

The pre-emptive strikes catch the Egyptians off guard and air defences are limited. Dozens of Egyptian pilots are killed in the raids.

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) loses 19 planes, about 10% of its strength, mostly due to mechanical failure or accidents. Five Israeli pilots are killed and five others are taken prisoner.

Arab countries respond, with Syrian, Jordanian and Iraqi planes attacking targets.

Waves of Israeli air attacks destroy about 311 Egyptian planes. Israel bombs Syrian, Iraqi and Jordanian bases and wins air supremacy for the rest of the war.

The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) crosses into the Sinai - taking al-Arish after a day of heavy fighting. Israeli divisions capture Bir Lahfen junction and Egyptian troops are hit at Umm Katef.

Jordan attacks from the West Bank and East Jerusalem and uses long-range guns to shell Tel Aviv.


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