Tuesday, May 13, 2003

"Liberty" 2003 Avoided
The tragic case of the attack on the American intelligence gathering ship Liberty by Israeli forces during the 1967 war continues to be discussed among conspiracy theorists despite the availability of a detailed explanation of what happened. Basically the incident is similar to friendly fire incidents that have occured in every war.

Via Gil Shterzer of Israeli Guy, we learn that, before, during and after operation Iraqi Freedom, numerous American planes flew over Israeli airspace moving men and materiel into battle. However, during a recent such flight a mistaken identification almost led to repeat of the Liberty tragedy. Fortunately it was averted. Here's an excerpt from an article called Confusion Reigns in The Heavens Above Israel from Israel's Ma'ariv newspaper:

A mistake in identifying American Hercules aircraft, which were flying above Israel yesterday evening, caused an immediate closure of the southern fly- zone and the launching of F-15 fighter planes because of a concern that there was an enemy incursion.

Southern Air force inspectors identified several Hercules aircraft entering Israeli airspace yesterday evening around 6 PM. The inspectors suspected that the sightings were of enemy aircraft and gave an instruction to dozens of aircraft, civilian and military, to land as quickly as possible. At the same time f-15 planes were sent up to intercept.

Inspectors told Maariv that for the course of half an hour confusion reigned in the heavens above southern Israel, and the aircraft that were flying in the region. Commander of the Air force, General Dan Halutz, has instructed the chief of operations in the Air force to investigate the event.