U.S.S. Liberty (1967)

Incident: U.S.S. Liberty Attack
Date: June 8, 1967
Location: Mediterranean Sea (International Waters)
Suspects: State of Israel, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson
Source: Wikipedia

Abstract: The USS Liberty incident was an attack on a United States Navy technical research ship, USS Liberty, by Israeli Air Force jet fighter aircraft and Israeli Navy torpedo boats, on June 8, 1967, during the Six-Day War.The combined air and sea attack killed 34 crew members (naval officers, seamen, two Marines, and one civilian), wounded 170 crew members, and severely damaged the ship. At the time, the ship was in international waters north of the Sinai Peninsula, about 25.5 nmi (29.3 mi; 47.2 km) northwest from the Egyptian city of Arish.

Both the Israeli and U.S. governments conducted inquiries and issued reports that concluded the attack was a mistake due to Israeli confusion about the identity of the USS Liberty. Attack survivors contacted in 2007, by John M. Crewdson for a Chicago Tribune article about the attack, "to a man" rejected Israel's mistaken identity explanation.

Also, the Tribune article said that most senior U.S. government officials, involved with the incident, did not believe that the attack was a mistake. The attack remains "the only maritime incident in U.S. history where [U.S.] military forces were killed that was never investigated by the [U.S.] Congress."


In May 1968, the Israeli government paid US$3,323,500 as full payment to the families of the 34 men killed in the attack.

In March 1969, Israel paid a further $3,566,457 in compensation to the men who had been wounded. On 18 December 1980, it agreed to pay $6 million as settlement for the U.S. claim of $7,644,146 for material damage to the Liberty itself.

Purportedly, on December 17, 1987, the issue was officially closed by the two governments through an exchange of diplomatic notes (Wikipedia, 2011)