Arab world commemorates 32nd anniversary of Yom Kippur War

The Arab world commemorated on Thursday the 32nd anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, which Egypt and Syria consider a victory despite the Israeli recovery from a surprise Arab attack. Israel commemorates the anniversary of the war on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which this year takes place on October 13. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak marked the war’s anniversary, known throughout the Arab world as the October War, by releasing 861 prisoners and telling the nation that success on the battlefield had led to freedom and a better life. „This victory has moved us from liberating captured land to a similar liberation in our political life and national economy,” Mubarak said in a televised speech. „The October victory was, and still is, a watershed in the history of the homeland,” he added. Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar Assad laid a wreath of flowers on the tomb of the unknown soldier in Damascus. Assad was accompanied during the ceremony by the Syrian defense minister, Major General Hasan Turkmany, and the Syrian chief of staff, Ali Habib. The Yom Kippur War began when Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel on the Day of Atonement. Caught off guard, the Israel Defense Forces sustained heavy casualties as Arab armies advanced deep into Israeli territory. However, the IDF soon recovered and pushed the Arab armies back, crossing the Suez Canal in the south and coming within range of artillery fire from Damascus in the north. Despite the Israeli recovery, the war is seen as a victory throughout the Arab world because of the initial gains, which restored Egyptian and Syrian self-confidence.