IAF planes attack Egyptian ships near Nahal Rubin (Sorek)

On June 4th 1948 an Egyptian naval force tried to mount an attack on Tel Aviv. Observation posts in southern Israel reported an Egyptian ship advancing northwards, from the morning hours. At 11:45 the Israeli Navy ship ‘Eilat’ received orders to make contact with the Egyptian force and attack it. Near Nahal Rubin (known today as Nahal Sorek), the Eilat discerned the Egyptian ship ‘Amira Fauziyah’, with a crew on board that seemed to be ready to attack. Two additional ships were observed behind the ‘Amira Fauziyah’. At this point, the IAF was called in to help in the attack on the Egyptians.

At 15:15 three IAF planes – a Rapide, a Bonanza and a Fairchild – commenced the attack. The three planes did not have bomb guides and their pilots were inexperienced in attacking maritime targets. The repeatedly swept down on the ships, despite AA fire, but all of their bombs missed and fell into the sea.

When the planes ran out of bombs they returned to Sde Dov to rearm. In the meantime, the Egyptian ships had turned around and began heading south. The planes reurned to attack them, but at 17:30 one of the ships managed to hit the Fairchild, which crashed into the sea killing both of its crewmen, pilot Aharon Shprinzak and bomber Matityahu Sukenik. When the ships had disappeared over the horizon, the Israeli Navy ships and IAF planes were sent out to look for the plane’s remains, but were unable to locate them.

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