The War of Attrition (1968-70)
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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 The War of Attrition (1968-70)

Following the Six-Day War,  a static exchange of artillery fire along the entire Bar Lev line on the Suez Canal, escalated into the War of Attrition.​

 
Inside a bunker of the Bar-Lev line

Soon after hostilities came to a halt, President Nasser embarked on what was to be a bloody, lengthy and inconclusive war: the War of Attrition - a static exchange of artillery fire along the entire Bar Lev line on the Suez Canal, which escalated rapidly. The IDF engaged in a number of daring raids - the most spectacular was probably the capture and safe transportation to Israel of a complete Russian-made radar installation in good working order.

When the Israel Air Force began its bombing attacks against targets in Egypt's depth, Nasser in desperation turned to the Soviet Union to provide Egypt not only with Russian equipment - but also with Russian air and ground troops. Russia reluctantly agreed. Soon afterwards the US, afraid that Big-Power direct involvement would escalate into nuclear confrontation, agreed with the USSR to put an end to the war under the "cease-fire stand-still" formula of the Security Council (July 1970). 1,424 Israeli soldiers were killed in action between 15 June 1967 and 8 August 1970.

The occupation of the West Bank and Gaza was at first considered by leaders of the PLO as ideal for armed resistance, i.e. terrorist activities. The terrorist attacks failed, however, to have a significant impact. Arab terrorist organisations therefore transferred their activities abroad: kidnapping and hijacking planes and blowing them up. At first benevolently neglected by the Western Powers - after all, they concerned only Israel - the terror acts increased in number and importance. The terrorists' most spectacular and bloody operation was the massacre of 11 Israeli sportsmen in Munich, at the Olympic Games of 1972.

Meanwhile Egypt, in secret coordination with Syria, prepared for another round. Israel was aware of these preparations, but wed to its concept that President Sadat of Egypt would not embark on war unless he had achieved at least parity, if not superiority in the air, ignored the writing on the wall.

From "The Arab-Israeli Wars" by Netanel Lorch

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