Warship Ibrahim

The Warship Ibrahim the first was an Egyptian Destroyer in the Egyptian Navy ,it was one of the main  destroyers then in the Egyptian Navy in 1956 ,it was bought before the Egyptian revolution from the British Navy in 1948,you can know from its name “Ibrahim” as it is tribute to “Ibrahim Basha” ,the son of “Mohamed Ali“,the greatest military Egypt leader knew its modern age.

The warship “Ibrahim the first ” is known as “Ibrahim El-Awal” in the historical resources about the war

Ibrahim the 1st
Ibrahim the 1st

In the war of 1956 , according to the Israeli Defense Forces record on the 10th of October 1956  “the Warship Ibrahim sailed from Portsaid till it reached to Haifa’s Bay.The warship’s four-inch guns shattered the pre-dawn silence, firing 220 rounds at the port and the nearby oil refinery. The shelling began at 3:30 a.m. but lasted only a few minutes. A French warship anchored in the harbor quickly returned fire, but the Ibrahim at Awal was able to slip away under the cover of darkness. She sailed northwest towards a group of neutral American ships. At 3:56, two Israeli naval ships, the Eilat and Yafo, began searching for the it, as it was well hidden among the American ships.

At 5:00 a.m. a Dakota pinpointed the enemy ship and the sea battle began in earnest. After taking a few hits, the Ibrahim al Awal began running towards Beirut. At 6:38 the IAF entered the fight. Two Ouragans, flown by Captain Yaakov Agassi and Lt. David Kishon, rocketed and strafed the ship. They knocked out her electrical system, disabled her steering capability and put the munitions elevators out of operation. The warship had no fight left in her. At 7:10, Israeli sailors boarded the destroyer. The Ibrahim al Awal was towed back to Haifa, where it was repaired, and later entered the Israel Navy as the I.N.S. Haifa!! “

This is according to the Jewish Virtual library version of the story

Already there are some differences and mistakes including the date , may be the 10th is the date of Sailing,but the date when it was attacked and captured was the first of November 1956 ,the war itself started with the surprising Israeli invasion to Gaza and Sinai on the 30th of October!!

Another thing the two Israeli naval ships, the Eilat and Yafo  were not the reason behind it is capture as it is documented in most western resources that it is the French kersaint which was behind its capture check the Time Magazine published in the 15th of April 1956

Now to the Egyptian version that no one has heard yet

The destroyer reached to the Haifa Harbor and began to target it , the attack didn’t last for few minutes as it is mentioned in the Israeli records but it continued ,it lasted for 45 minutes ,and I think this is not to be called a few minutes , anyhow , the crew of the destroyer succeeded in maneuvering and escaping the Israeli warships and it was going to succeed in entering the Lebanese borders safely except if it was n’t for the French warships and the IAF which targeted the destroyer and caused a huge damage to it , already before that attack,the captain of the destroyer sent an immediate message to the commandership in Alexandria requesting a backup from the Egyptian Air forces ,in order to provide him with an air shield to protect his destroyer from the Israeli Air forces.

The French warships were much advanced from the destroyer that fought in the world war II

The last straw was the IAF , the attack from the sky completed the mission and the destroyer began to sink in 6:38 , the captain ordered the crew to abandon the ship while he would stay on it as the custom in the navy but unfortunately the British  Navy came and stopped this from happening , they captured the crew and the destroyer and headed to Haifa Harbor’s ,already they didn’t want the same glorious scenario of warship Damietta to take again,warship Damietta was sunk by its captain and crew.

The destroyer reached to Haifa and the Israeli flag above it and under it the Egyptian flag as meaning of being captured , the Israelis took the destroyer ,it was a good opportunity for them ,already the Israeli navy wasn’t strong then ,they mended it and called it “Haifa”

Now why I am mentioning this story is because that “Ibrahim the 1st” incident was the first documented incident involving the POWs in Israel with photos , of course there was an exchange that took place in the following days through the red cross and the United Nations.

As part of the huge media war that took place between Egypt and the trio “UK,France and Israel” , photos for the captured crews were taken as soon as they arrived to Haifa in order to publish worldwide to prove their victory , these photos I think that they didn’t make it to Egypt , I am sure that there were orders for censorship as in time of war these photos can have negative effect , after 51 years I was toughed deeply by them ,any how I found them in Getty images agency and I thought that they must be published.

Ibrahim 1st captured crew
Ibrahim 1st captured crew
The captured crew of Ibrahim 1st in Israel
The captured crew of Ibrahim 1st in Israel

I notice some thing disturbing in these two sad old photos, that many of the crew members who wearing nothing except their underwear. This remark I can´t let it go because it seems that stripping our soldiers from their uniforms became a habit of the Israeli army !!

You will know what I mean if you watch this very rare silent clip for the capture warship and its crew in Haifa.

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