Israeli Air Force Mirage jet commemorative model display The Israel Air Force was first equipped with the Dassault Mirage III 3CJ Cat in 1962, forming a total of three squadrons. During the 1967 Six Day War, the Israeli Mirages downed Egyptian and Syrian Mig 17 and 21 jets among other aircraft in record numbers for the time. In response to the great success of the Mirage 3, a partnership between Dassault and Israel Aircraft Industries formed to manufacture the Mirage 5 model. In January 1969 the French government imposed an arms embargo on Israel in response to Operation Gift in which Israeli special forces conducted a raid on the Beirut Airport in December 1968, destroying 12 passenger planes and two cargo planes, all empty. This was in response to the attack on the Israeli Airliner El Al Flight 253 two days earlier by the Lebanon-based Palestinian militant organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Eventhough the French arms embargo was in place, the Israel Aircraft Industries already had all of the plans and it proceeded in manufacturing the Mirage 5 fighter jet, named by the Israel Airforce “Nesher” (griffon vulture). The Mirage 5 was operational during the 1973 Yom Kippur war and was later phased out in favor of the IAF Kfir.
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