The USS Liberty was an American intelligence ship. It the first hours of June the 8th, 1967, the fourth day of the Six-day war, it was engaged by Israeli air and sea forces off El-Arish. Although the USS Liberty was not sunk, the bombs, shells and torpedoes launched by the Israeli forces have led to the death of 34 US sailors and the injuring of 171. The ship suffered extensive damage.
Subsequent ten American commissions of inquiry and three Israeli ones have all concluded that the attack was conducted because of USS Liberty being confused with an Egyptian vessel, and failures of communications between Israel and the US. The arguments in favor of this are that the USS Liberty refused to identify itself on the radio, and that the Israeli aircraft ceased firing upon it at the moment it became clear the ship was American. On December 17, 1987, the issue was officially closed by the exchange of diplomatical notes between the US and Israel. Israel has also paid nearly US $13 million in compensations to the families of the victims. See .
In spite of this, an alternative version states that the Israelis attacked the ship on purpose; one possible explanation for this was to prevent the discovery of (alleged) Israeli war crimes in the Sinai. See . The opinion that the attack was premeditated is shared by at least some of the survivors of USS Liberty; however their position can be explained by the bitterness caused by the attack, rather than by comprehensive understanding of the events of that day. For their web site, see .