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The attack on the plane of the King of Morocco 1972 (part 3)

General Mohamed Oufkir and king Hassan II, Getty Images, Inc.

On 10 July 1971, the Moroccan army carried out a failed coup against the king in the palace of Skhirat. The following year air officers made a new coup, this time the plane of King Hassan II, on the return from France, was attacked in the air by jet fighters. 

In the near future, the Amazigh Informatie Centum will reconstruct this historical event by publishing short articles. We will do this by means of testimonies of persons who were present during this incident, such as the fighter pilot Salah Hachad, published books by critical authors such as Gilles Perrault, Stephen Smith and various newspaper articles. 

Amekrane is ordered to attack Hassan II

Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Amekrane, screenshot video INA (l’Institut National de l’Audiovisue, France)

Oufkir’s plans that included Amekran are beginning to become clear, he meets with the Lt. colonel outside Kenitra airbase to reveal the king’s depravity, the immoral behavior of his family and immediate surroundings, the abuse of inside information, corruption, the bribes.

General Oufkir announces his plan: he wants to put an end to the regime of King Hassan II and that he has chosen Amekrane to carry out his plan. Oufkir went into details and asked Amekrane to shoot Hassan II out of the sky with an F-5 fighter jet.

The general who set up the Moroccan security forces also had a lot of power within the army, many army officers were loyal to him. He had the power and authority to deploy the army, he could deploy a large part of the armed forces against Hassan II. Apparently the general does not want to involve many people in his coup attempt so that if things go wrong he can easily distance himself and eliminate the executor (s).

Amekrane faced a major dilemma. Oufkir who has the reputation of being the butcher of the regime and can have Amekrane liquidated at any time, even if the attack on the king succeeded. There is a real chance that General Oufkir has his accomplices killed to permanently erase all evidence leading to his involvement.

Lt. Col. Amekrane was treated for his kidney disease and admitted to hospital, so he was not fully deployable as a pilot.  At the Kenitra Air Force base, the Moroccan pilots did not have any missiles at their disposal.  In an attack with an F-5 on the plane of the king, Amekrane is dependent on the machine gun fire of the two 20mm M39 guns in the nose of the plane, in the magazine of every gun can be 280 bullets.

M39 guns of F-5, screenshot documentary Northrop F-5 Freedom Fighter 

As an experienced fighter pilot, Amekrane is aware of the fact that shooting with a jet fighter on a flying high-speed passenger aircraft required a great deal of expertise.

Why General Oufkir lt. Colonel Amekrane asked for an attack on the king’s plane on his own is not entirely clear. To increase the chance of the attack succeeding, Amekrane asked Oufkir’s permission to involve another person in the conspiracy, namely his friend Major Louafi Kouera. The general gave his approval and the countdown to the putsch against the king of Morocco could begin.

Source: https://medium.com/@AmazighInformatieCentrum/de-aanslag-op-het-vliegtuig-van-de-koning-van-marokko-1972-deel-3-42d1ccb98f99

Translated by: Najat M.


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