The Nubian military code that helped Egypt win 1973 war against Israel

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As the 100,000 Egyptian soldiers moved towards the Suez Canal on October 6 1973 Israeli signals corps officers heard commands being given from an unheard of ancient language that surprised and shocked them.

The Israeli officers heard commands like Oshriya and Sai Awi that baffled them as this was a new code utilized by the Egyptian army from an unknown source.


On Monday the founder of the code that granted Egypt superiority During the October war was commended by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.

ادريس شفرة شيفرة اكتوبر
ادريس شفرة شيفرة اكتوبر

Nubian Ahmed Edris the creator of the "October War Code" was rewarded by a medal for his "great services for the homeland" during 44th anniversary of the October War victory.

Edris, from Aswan in southern Egypt, told Al Arabiya that ahead of the surprise attack he learned through conversations with leadership officers that senior Egyptian commanders were trying to develop a new code to inform officers and units of orders, instructions and decisions from the military command.

Edris suggested the use of the ancient Nubian language as a code. The Nubian language is spoken between southern Egypt and northern Sudan and has descended from the Meroitic Pharonic languages over the centuries.

“The language is only a spoken language and is not a written one and in Egypt it was only spoken by the Nubians,” Edris said.

During conversations with the command, Edris explained that the Nubian language is divided into two dialects, the Kunooz dialect which belonged to the people of Dongola in northern Sudan and the Fadika dialect which was used by the Mahas tribe of northern Sudan and southern Egypt.

To his delight, Edris was informed that the idea was well received by the Egyptian military high command and was contacted by the commander in chief, President Anwar al-Sadat.

He added that when Sadat called him he asked him that although the idea is excellent, but how can it by implemented?

The officer said that Nubian soldiers must be recruited and used for it to succeed.

35 Nubian Egyptian soldiers were recruited and trained in the Signal Corps, he said, while another 70 border guards were recruited to send and receive the codes on the lines.

The code, which became the language of the communication between military commanders succeeded in blocking any Israeli attempt to intercept orders by the Egyptian army.

Two words repeatedly used during the first hours of the October 6 attack were Oshriya meaning strike and Sai Awi meaning the second hour.

When the zero hour came, the two words reverberated along Egyptian radio signals and the attack was launched bringing victory and liberation to Israeli occupied Sinai.

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