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"Mistaken Identity"

Reader comment on item: The Liberty Incident: The 1967 Israeli Attack on the U.S. Spy Ship

Submitted by Joseph Graziano (United States), Nov 18, 2005 at 16:37

Israel points to the short duration of the air attack as proof it was a case of mistaken identity.
Their official 1982 IDF History Department Report states it involved 2 planes making 4 strafing runs with guns. 2 planes that arrived later dropped napalm only. Other sources such as Cristol say 5 or 6 strafing passes were made with cannons. My own two year study of photographs of the damage to Liberty show that most of it, with the exception of the torpedo hit, was caused by rocket fire from the planes. By my count there were at least 60 rocket hits. The Navy damage report had it at over 100. The rockets hit singly, in 2s and 3s. The arithmetic mean being 2. If we reasonably assume the pilots fired from two pods on each pass we can conclude there were an average of 4 hits on Liberty per strafing run. Applying this to my count of 60 strikes yields 15 strafing runs. About 10 more than that cited in the IDF History Report. Using the total given in the Navy damage report of more than 100 rocket hits we get over 25 strafing passes. This latter figure coincides with survivor's statements. Such a large number of sorties casts very serious doubt on the "mistaken identity" explanation.
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