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Ofira Air Battle
 / IDF Spokesperson’s Unit

Ofira was an Israeli colony in the Sharm el-Sheikh area of Egypt’s southern Sinai Peninsula, which was occupied by Israel from 1967 until 1982. Ofira was established in 1969 with the intention of housing 500 households. In 1976, an airstrip was built, which is currently known as Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport.
It was called after the Biblical Ophir, a gold-mining country in Africa.
Ofira has a view of Sharm el-Maya Bay and the Nesima region. Israel built its first tourist hamlet at Naama Bay, six kilometres north.
It was the scene of an air fight during the Yom Kippur War.
Ofira was abandoned in the spring of 1982, when the Sinai was returned to Egypt as part of the Camp David Accords, which led to the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty. Ofira, unlike Yamit, was not demolished. It was instead returned back to Egypt.

The Ofira Air Battle

The Ofira Air Battle was one of the first of the Yom Kippur War’s air clashes. On October 6, 1973, Egypt launched a large surprise attack on Israel, with over 200 Egyptian aircraft engaged in an initial bombardment. Twenty Egyptian Air Force MiG-17s and their eight MiG-21 escorts attacked the Israeli Air Force Base Ofira in Sharm el-Sheikh. Israel promptly scrambled two F-4E Phantom II fighter planes, not recognizing the scope of the strike. The Israeli pilots then ditched their external fuel tanks and engaged in an aerial battle with all 28 MiGs. Seven Egyptian MiGs were shot down in less than six minutes, and the surviving Egyptian jets disengaged and returned to Egypt. The Egyptians contested the Israelite narrative of the conflict, but they never provided their own version of events. Atef Sadat, the half-brother of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, was one of the Egyptian pilots murdered in the battle. Today, the name Ofira is mostly a feminine Hebrew name that means “gold.”

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