One of the most hidden historical events from the eyes of the public is known as the USS Liberty Incident. The event represents the attack by the Israeli Navy and Israeli Air Force against US Navy. The incident took place on June 8, 1967 during the Arab-Israeli War, known as the Six-Day War.
The surprise attack
USS Liberty was a light-weapon ship used for surveillance and navigation in the international waters near the Egyptian city of El Arish (off the Gaza Strip). In the morning of June 8, 1967 the ship was overflown by Israeli Air Force repeatedly. Around 2 PM, the first wave of Israeli military planes attacked it by shooting the crew and throwing missiles and napalm bombs.
The hunting jets identified and destroyed the communication antenna of the vessel and the transmission installations. Therefore, the USS Liberty crew was unable to communicate with the rest of the American fleet in the Mediterranean. Incredibly, the American crew managed to repair the ship’s antenna and sent desperate signals to the rest of the fleet. Saratoga and America carriers confirmed the message and reported that they will send hunting jets in order to help the crew.
Somehow, the help has not arrived because President Lyndon Johnson ordered to stop the counterattack. On the other hand, a second wave of Israeli torpedo boats came around the American ship trying to sink it. USS Liberty was bombed with 20 and 40 mm cannons and was torpedoed below the waterline. After the explosion of the torpedo, 22 sailors died and by the end of the incident 34 were killed and 174 were wounded in action.
Official or Unofficial?
The official version of the story tells us that Israeli Air Force has “confused” the USS Liberty with an Egyptian fishing vessel (four times smaller than the USS Liberty). However, the unofficial story excludes such a theory. USS Liberty was clearly identified with the American flag and after the initial attack the flag was replaced with a larger one. Also, the priority to destroy the communication system raises a lot of questions.
One of the hypotheses is that Israeli attempt to sink the American ship and blame Egypt for it. In case of a success, the United States probably declared war on Egypt, thus destroying one of the enemies of the Jewish state. Also, the unofficial story tells us the fact that the Russian Destroyer No. 626/4 received the desperate messages of the American ship. The Russians managed to help the Americans forcing the Israeli to retreat after three hours of continuous attacks. Finally, with a delay of 17 hours it was allowed the help from the rest of the American fleet.
And yet it “moves”
The surviving crew received very clear instructions. They were not allowed to make public statements to the subject. Even more, Admiral Thomas Moorer believed that the attack was a deliberate act, but the President ordered to cover-up the attack to maintain ties with Israel. The same thing was done by US Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, who sustained that the attack was a deliberate act. However, the incident has never been investigated by the American Congress committee.
Luckily, the USS Liberty “survived”, so the scenario was partially “played”. Therefore, US didn’t declare war against Egypt and probably this was an important avoidance of another world conflict.
Basically all the survivors of the USS Liberty are convinced that the attack was deliberate and the Israel knew very well that the ship was American. Moreover, the Israeli justice did not give any condemnation to the attackers or their leaders. Ironically, the crew whose torpedo hit the USS Liberty was decorated.