Egypt bids farewell to 1973 war hero Baki Zaki Youssef at St. Marcos Coptic church

Ahram Online, Sunday 24 Jun 2018

Baki Zaki
Baki Zaki Youssef in 2013 (Photo: Sherif Sonbol)

The funeral service for Egyptian military officer Baki Zaki Youssef, who is considered by Egyptians to be a hero of the 1973 war against Israel, was held at St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo on Sunday.

Youssef died on Saturday at the age of 88.

The funeral service was attended by a number of current and former state officials and top level army officers.

Youssef was widely known as the brains behind the engineering plan which led to the fall of the Bar Lev defensive sand wall, which in turn led the Egyptian army to victory in October 1973.

Baki Zaki

The 100 km fortification was built by Israel on the eastern side of the Suez Canal after the 1967 war and was believed to form an "invincible wall" which would prevent the Egyptian army from crossing the Suez Canal to liberate Sinai from Israeli occupation.

Youssef came up with the idea of using powerful water jets to break through the sand wall, and the technique was deployed with success.

The Egyptian cabinet issued a statement on Saturday describing him as “an icon of pride and honour” for all Egyptians.

Who is Baki Zaki Youssef

Youssef was born in Cairo in 1931. He graduated from the Faculty of Engineering at Ain Shams University in 1954. 

He joined the Egyptian armed forces as an engineering officer.

He would retire as a major general in 1984.

In 1964, he was assigned to work on the construction of the High Aswan Dam.

Youssef was awarded the Republic Military Medal in 1974 by President Anwar El-Sadat for his role in the 1973 war.

He also received the Order of the Republic second class in 1984, following his retirement from the Egyptian armed forces.

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