WASHINGTON- An ex-chief engineer of a United States warship, Richard Brooks will take the memory to his grave of an incident when Israel attacked America, the echo of which is never heard in US-Israel relations.
Allegedly, there was an attack launched by Israel on an American warship on June 8th, 1967 leaving 34 dead and 170 injured. Nevertheless, the ship was rendered to be the survivor of this attack.
This was a time when the 1967 Arab-Israel war was at its peak. The US spy ship, USS Liberty was enjoying a stay in international waters off the Sinai Peninsula. The objective of the ship was to gather information on the six day war which had been escalated on land.
Under the American flag, apparently there was no fear, those who inhabited the ship at the time were sunbathing, enjoying the friendly June sunshine. As per the account reminisced by Brooks, suddenly there were the klaxons warning and people yelling “standby to receive torpedo hit.”
Immediately, the torpedoes started hitting the ship and it was pitched to one side. But he mustered his instincts and led his ship to safe waters eventually. According to his recounts, “My machinery was still intact and I was still making headway. I yelled through the voice tube ‘Give me all the steam pressure you’ve got, let’s get the hell out of this area.’”
Israel claims that it was by mistake, the US vessel was thought to be an Egyptian warship. But Brooks does not believe on this, he says, “It wasn’t a tragic accident, it was a deliberate attack. They knew who we were. They tried to sink us. They wanted us out to either bring the Americans into the war by blaming the Arabs or we picked up some information about their war plans”.
Though every year, on 8th June the survivors gather to reminisce the incident but still there are no hard feelings between the two allies on this issue. Brooks is still hopeful for an official inquiry into who lied to whom but it seems very unlikely.
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