Events Log

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In the early 1960's, Israel embarked upon a large scale economic development project: 'Hamovil haartzi' - an artificial canal which transports fresh water from the sources in Israel's southwards to the country's large population centers. In an effort to prevent this from happening, Syria began digging a canal with the aim of diverting the Jordan's waters at the Golan Heights. The dispute with Syria led to recurring border clashes.

On November 1964 and July 1966 IAF planes attacked the Syrian water-diversion equipment. Several dogfights took place, in which a number of Syrian MiGs were shot down. There were more incidents on the Syrian border in April of 1967, with IAF planes shooting down six Syrian MiGs on April 7th 1967. On May 14th, the Egyptian president ordered large forces into the Sinai, and a few days later he announced the closure of the Tiran Straits. Tension in the Middle East was at a record high.

On June 5th 1967, Israel struck first. Within three hours' time the IAF had destroyed the Egyptian Air Force on the ground, and badly mauled the Syrian, Jordanian and Iraqi air forces. After achieving air superiority on all fronts - thus effectively deciding the war - the IAF went on to participate in missions of attack and interception, airdrops of equipment, landing of troops and evacuation of casualties. In six days of fighting, the IDF took the Sinai Penninsula, the West Bank and the Golan Heights: a combined area that was three times bigger than pre-1967 Israel.

Immediately after the war, the IAF found itself involved in a new kind of war: the war against the 'mekhablim', or terrorists. IAF planes pounded terrorist concentrations in Jordan and silenced Jordanian Legion guns that had been targeting the settlements of the Bik'a, as the area along the Jordan River north of the Dead Sea is called. IAF helicopters played a key role in chases after the mekhablim who did manage to infiltrate into Israel.

While this was going on, fighting was taking place daily along the Suez Canal, against Egyptian forces. This was the War of Attrition. The IAF deployed its new planes - the Skyhawk and the Phantom - to attack Egyptian positions, missile batteries, SAMs and artillery emplacements. IAF helicopters participated in daring raids carried out by ground forces, deep behind enemy lines. In one of the most famous raids of the War of Attrition, in December of 1969, IAF CH-53 Yas'ur helicopters carried off a state of the art Soviet radar from Egypt and brought it to Israel, intact.