TEL AVIV (Dec. 10)
The Israeli submarine Dakar, posted missing with all hands in 1968, was sunk at the orders of then Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, according to a retired Egyptian naval officer who says he commanded the operation.
Retired Vice Admiral Samir Shalabi wrote in the current issue of the Cairo weekly A-Shaab that “We carried out the mission near Egyptian territorial waters west of the town of Al-Dakhila on January 25, 1968.”
That was the date when the Dakar, a British-built submarine of World War II vintage on its delivery voyage to Israel with a crew of 69 was last heard from. It was never determined whether the undersea craft foundered because of the failure of its pressurized hull or other internal difficulties, or was destroyed by enemy action. Until now, Egypt has denied any knowledge of the fate of the Dakar.
Earlier this year, Egypt gave Israel permission to search in its coastal waters for traces of the submarine. The search, carried out with the help of U.S. Navy personnel and equipment, was terminated in October after nothing was found.
Shalabi, in his account of events nearly 19 year ago, wrote: “Our underwater detection system discovered a hostile target. We reported to President Nasser who ordered the Naval Command to locate the target and hit it. Nasser was concerned over a possible attack by Israeli frogmen. Seventeen kilometers from shore, we made contact with the submarine. I gave the order and we dropped 36 depth charges on it, and reported on our success.”
The Admiral said “helicopters that arrived on the scene searched for remains of the sub, but there were none.”