In 10 July 1971, the Moroccan army carried out a failed coup against the king in the palace of Skhirat. The following year airmen made a new coup, this time the plane of King Hassan II, on his return from France, was attacked in the air by jet fighters.
In the near future the Amazigh Information Centre will reconstruct this historical event with short articles. We will do so on the basis of testimonies from people who have experienced this event, such as the fighter pilot Salah Hachad, books by critical authors such as Gilles Perrault, Stephen Smith and various newspaper articles.
Emergency landing at Rabat airport
The captain of the Boeing succeeded in landing the aircraft at Rabat-Sale airport. This is due to the fact that a wheel is jammed, which causes the aircraft to fall off the runway. The king and the rest of the 60 passengers leave the aircraft, which could explode at any moment.
Mohamed Oufkir is waiting at Rabat-Sale airport, in the company of other ministers, for the King to welcome him. Just before the landing of the Boeing, Oufkir leaves the company to go to the control tower of the airport. As soon as Hassan II enters the waiting room, three F-5 fighters shave over the airport. They carry out the reconnaissance flight Pink on order of lt. Colonel Amekrane who coordinates the attack from the control tower of Kenitra base.
The king leaves the airport with an unknown destination. He does let the royal procession drive, empty cars whose drivers serve as bait for the attackers. Colonel Amekrane launches Operation Red Flight: Lieutenants Ziad and Boukhalif attack the airfield of Rabat-Sale with machine gun fire. This caused a lot of damage to buildings and cars. Eight people were killed and about fifty wounded, including several ministers.
Red Lightning and asylum application in Gibraltar
As a final action, Lieutenant Colonel Amekrane launches Operation Red Lightning: six F-5 fighters attack the Royal Palace in Rabat, but the target Hassan II is not in the palace. Amekrane suspects that his superior, accomplice and sponsor of the attack, General Mohamed Oufkir, will not use all means to overthrow the king and leaves the base of Kenitra aboard in a helicopter. Together with his accomplice Lieutenant El-Midaoui, they set off for the British colony of Gibraltar to seek asylum there, because Morocco and Great Britain do not have an extradition treaty.
Translated by: Najat M.