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Israel defence minister ordered 1954 explosions that hit US, UK targets in Egypt

December 10, 2022 at 11:15 am

A Israeli bomb explodes on the Egyptian military positions on the western side of the Suez Canal, on February 13, 1970, during the so-called “War of Attrition” between Israel and Egypt. [AFP via Getty Images]

A document has revealed that late Colonel Binyamin Gibli, head of Israeli Military Intelligence between June 1950 and March 1955, was directly ordered by then-Defence Minister Pinhas Lavon to bomb US and UK targets in Egypt in 1954, reported on Friday.

Known as Operation Susannah, Gibli ordered nine Egyptian-Jewish undercover agents, members of Unit 131, to bomb UK and US targets.

The bombing aimed to turn the US and UK against then-Egyptian revolutionary leader Gamal Abdul Nasser and push the UK to reverse its decision to withdraw from the Suez Canal, which was nationalised by Abdul Nasser.

Gibli wrote in his biography, which had been banned, that Lavon disowned him after the operation was uncovered.

According to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, he accused Lavon of: “Throwing him to the dogs and turning him into a scapegoat.”

The operation failed as Egyptian security forces uncovered the unit and arrested its members. One of them committed suicide in prison, two were executed and others spent long periods in jail.

Israeli authorities carried out several investigations into the issue, known as the Lavon Affair, that led to contradictory findings, resignations and political divisions. The case was never closed.

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