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Jubilant Egyptian soldiers plant flag on Bar-Lev line bunker in Sinai
The 1973 Yom Kippur war

Unable to regain the territory they had lost in 1967 by diplomatic means, Egypt and Syria launched major offensives against Israel on the Jewish festival of the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur. The clashes are also known as the Ramadan war.

Initially, Egypt and Syria made advances in Sinai and the Golan Heights. These were reversed after three weeks of fighting. Israel eventually made gains beyond the 1967 ceasefire lines.

Israeli forces pushed on into Syria beyond the Golan Heights, though they later gave up some of these gains. In Egypt, Israeli forces regained territory and advanced to the western side of the Suez Canal.

The United States, the Soviet Union and the United Nations all made diplomatic interventions to bring about ceasefire agreements between the combatants.

Egypt and Syria jointly lost an estimated 8,500 soldiers in the fighting, while Israel lost about 6,000.

The war left Israel more dependent on the US for military, diplomatic and economic support. Soon after the war, Saudi Arabia led a petroleum embargo against states that supported Israel. The embargo, which caused a steep rises in petrol prices and fuel shortages across the world, lasted until March 1974. In October 1973 the UN Security Council passed resolution 338 which called for the combatants "to cease all firing and terminate all military activity immediately... [and start] negotiations between the parties concerned under appropriate auspices aimed at establishing a just and durable peace in the Middle East".


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