Cairo: Egypt’s former president Hosni Mubarak has remembered his country’s 1973 war against Israel in a rare YouTube appearance.
Mubarak, 91, served as the chief of the Egyptian air force during the war that came six years after Egypt’s military defeat in 1967 War.
Mubarak, who showed signs of ageing in the appearance aired Tuesday night, praised his predecessor Anwar Al Sadat for taking the decision to go to war in 1973.
“His decision was courageous and it boosted the morale of the officers and soldiers after the 1967 naksa [setback],” Mubarak said in the video recording that featured photos with Al Sadat and then army commanders.
Mubarak added that the airstrikes at the start of the war on October 6, 1973, were successful. “The [Egyptian] warplanes carried out their mission completely and the morale was unprecedentedly high,” he remembered.
“When I informed Al Sadat of the success of the first air strike, he nervously shouted, “We’ve won the war, guys!’.”
Mubarak also recalled a 50-minute battle between the Egyptian and Israeli jets during the 1973 war over Egypt’s Delta province of Mansura, resulting in the destruction of 18 Israeli planes and four from Egypt.
“It was the biggest battle in the history of the [Egyptian] Air Force,” he said.
Mubarak said that the 1967 war was not a true war
“We were struck without any warning or a plan,” he said. That defeat deeply shook Egyptians and triggered outrage against their leaders of the time.“As a result, no [army] personnel could appear in uniform in the street. We stayed for three months without leaving airports. Therefore, we decide to take revenge [against Israelis].”
A 2011 uprising forced Mubarak to step down after a 30-year rule. In March 2017, Egypt’s top appeals court cleared him of charges of involvement in killing hundreds of protesters during the 2011 revolt
The last time he was seen in public was last December when he made a court appearance to testify in a mass jailbreak case involving his successor Mohammad Mursi.