ב.1 | The fateful telegram to Yisrael Lior: "The Egyptian army and the Syrian army are about to launch an attack on Israel"
For a translation of the telegram, see below
Top Secret – Personal
Information from the meeting on 5.10.73.
- The Egyptian army and the Syrian army are about to launch an attack on Israel on Saturday, October 6, towards evening.
2. The attack will open simultaneously on the Suez front and on the Golan front.
- During the past week, two divisions from the Cairo area were transferred to the front, thus virtually all of the Egyptian army is now stationed in the Canal Zone. In the Cairo area there remain one armored brigade (in the Hikestep, a large military encampment), a brigade of the Republican Guard and four infantry brigades. Most of the armored and artillery forces are at the front.
- On September 25, Sadat took the decision to start the war on October 6, but did not tell anyone about the date. According to the source, this date was chosen because it is a “holiday” for us – and despite the fast of Ramadan. On September 29, the president convened the National Security Council (Majlis al-Aman al-Koumi) and informed the council members of his decision to break the cease-fire soon, explaining that it was now the most appropriate time for it politically. He did not give the council the date. On September 30, Sadat convened the Supreme War Council (Majlis al-Harb al-‘Ala) and told its members similar things, without giving a date. On October 2, Sadat told the war minister, Ahmed Ismail, of the date, and ordered him to invite and inform the representatives of the Syrian General Staff. On the same day, Ahmed Ismail met in Cairo with the Syrian officers who arrived from Damascus and he flew to Damascus the next day, on Wednesday, 3.10 in order to continue discussions and arrangements.
- Sadat moved to the Al-Tahera Palace, where he established his headquarters. He ordered his aides to move to “emergency offices.” Hafez Ismail then moved to the ‘Abd al-Na’im palace near Al-Tahera palace, and two of the vice presidents moved to the Kaba palace.
To be continued
Yisrael – as mentioned above, the material will be processed and distributed to all parties in a few moments. FREDDY
- The Egyptian attack will begin with an artillery bombardment and an air force attack on targets in Sinai. After that the Canal will be crossed. For the purpose of the crossing, five or six bridges will be built, of which 3 will be used for the crossing opposite the line of the passes. The other bridges would be used as diversions. Parts of the bridges were recently transferred on 150 trucks via the “State of Nasser” road. After the crossing, an effort will be made to capture territory to a depth of about 10 kilometers, and at the first stage it is not intended to reach the line of the passes. When the army arrives at the depth determined, it will try to hold out and the results of this stage will determine the sequel. The crossing will receive intensive aerial defense from surface / air missiles, mainly SAM 2, 3 and 6, and Tsalka [probably the ZSU-23-4 “Shilka”- a Soviet self-propelled, radar guided, anti-aircraft, missile with 4 23 mm autocannons], and 30 North Korean pilots will participate in defending Egypt’s skies. The Mirage and Hunter planes will participate in battles in the Sinai, Sharm El Sheikh will be bombed by the T-16 [TU-16] in an attempt to destroy and destroy the structures that were built there. Then, commando units will be deployed to try and conquer the place.
- The Syrian army, which is almost entirely stationed on the front line, will simultaneously attack the Egyptians and try to conquer the Golan or part of it. The Syrian air force will attack three air force bases, one of which will be Ramat David. Thirty Sukhoi, 20 Syrian and MiG 12 (F-21) fighter planes will attack. They will try to hit the runways. The coordination between the Syrian army and the Egyptian army will be carried out by a number of Egyptian officers who are attached to the Syrian General Staff. They will also report on the beginning of the Syrian attack. The source, personally, is still skeptical that the Syrians will attack on time, but the general view is that Assad will indeed “go with the Egyptians,” as this is his only chance to recapture the Golan Heights. President Sadat does not make his actions conditional on those of the Syrians.
8. According to the plan, some of the Egyptian navy vessels were to leave Egyptian ports and move to Tobruk, 36 hours before the attack began. This was carried out and several Egyptian destroyers and other vessels have already arrived in Tobruk.
- Also according to the plan, the Egyptian Airlines planes destined for Cairo were flown to Libya. This was supposed to take place 24 hours before the attack was launched. It was carried out, and the Egyptian airplanes which were about to leave London and Munich for Cairo, left on 5.10 empty and flew to Benghazi. The passengers remained in London and Munich. It was explained to them that the planes had been transferred to flights from Tripoli, and instead on Saturday other planes would be chartered to take them to Cairo on Saturday. A DC-9 plane is about to leave England at 1700 (from Gatwick airport). On Saturday an Egyptian Airlines plane will not fly to London. The source said that he does not understand what will happen to the other Egyptian Airlines planes due to arrive in Cairo on Saturday.
- The transfer of Egyptian Air Force vessels to Tobruk and diversion of the Egyptian Airlines planes to Benghazi were arranged by Ashraf Marwan, who went to Libya for this purpose on Wednesday 3 10.
- According to the source, the Egyptians were surprised at what they saw as Israel’s lack of response to Egyptian preparations for Egyptian war. In their opinion, this can be explained by one of two explanations: A.That the Israelis are self-confident, watching events and ready to destroy the Egyptian army if it attacks. B.That the Israelis do not know exactly what is going on and do not understand the severity of the situation.
- The new medium-range ground / ground missiles are not operational yet and will not be used in an attack.
- 12 Egyptian fighter pilots were recently sent to the Soviet Union for a course on the MiG 23, and are now training on this aircraft. They will not be returned to Egypt before the war. The commander of the Egyptian air force asked for it, but the president refused. They will not call back Egyptian officers who are studying abroad.
- The source estimates there are “99 percent chances” that the attack will open on October 6. One percent he leaves to himself saying that the president can still change his mind even when his “finger is on the button.” According to the source, Sadat thinks he can surprise us. In the opinion of the source, this time the president has gone too far on the war.
15. The Soviet response – the Soviets noticed the preparations being made for the start of the war. The Soviet ambassador went to Heikal to try to find out what was going to happen. Heikal told Sadat about this and Sadat invited the Soviet ambassador and told him about his intentions without giving a date. Originally he did not know about the Soviet planes that arrived in Cairo on 5.10 in the morning. Until recently, the Soviets have made it clear to the Egyptians that they were not interested in war in the near future. They may press the Egyptians not to fight, but in the opinion of the source, the president will be able to withstand this pressure.
- To the question of the logic behind starting a war now, the source replied that this makes no sense. To the remark that starting a war now would harm Egypt’s recent political achievements and the chances of reaching an understanding with Kissinger, the source replied that there were no hopes in Egypt for any achievement from political contacts.
- According to the source, there is no intention to expand the Egyptian air force attacks beyond Sinai, but if our air force attacks deep in Egypt, the Egyptian air force will operate T 61 [ TU-16} aircraft carrying air-to-surface missiles that will attack Tel Aviv, coming from the sea, at low altitude, and after the attack will try to get to Benghazi airport (Benina), land there, re-equip and go back to the attack. This field is protected by an Algerian MiG-21 squadron and a 100 mm. anti-aircraft brigade.
18. In response to the questions, the source replied that this is not a “political trick” and that the intention is really to go to war.
- The source agreed to the remark that a war in the Middle East could endanger the understanding between the United States and the Soviet Union and cause a setback for Egypt’s position.
- The source expressed his opinion that we know very well about the preparations for the war by Egypt and Syria, but pretend that we do not know about it and even denied that there were Egyptian and Syrian army movements in the direction of the front. According to the source, the Egyptians estimate that in the event of a war, we will try to capture Port Said, to land commando units in Jabal Ahmar in Cairo, capturing Air Force headquarters and air defenses, and deploying commando units in the Red Sea area.
- After mentioning to the source about a previous report that a war might develop from a large Egyptian military exercise, the source said that this is indeed the case in the case before us.
- According to the source, there is no intention of landing an Egyptian army from the sea, and there is no intention of transferring Egyptian military units to Syria.
- The source said that recently, equipment for modern electronic warfare had not arrived in Egypt.
- The Jordanians will not participate in the war.
- The Libyans learned of the war only two days ago.
- The source mentioned that the Egyptian Air Force has about 100 usable helicopters of various types.
- According to the source, the opening of the war could perhaps be thwarted by publishing news on the radio and the press that will prove to the Egyptians, including the military command, that the Israelis are familiar with the plan and are prepared for it.
- The head of the Mossad proposes to consider publication by news agencies in Israel. The move of the president and his aides should not be mentioned. All the rest can be mentioned and in the opinion of the source it will have an effect in Egypt.