Assassination of Anwar Sadat
The last months of Sadat's presidency were marked by internal uprising
. He dismissed allegations that the rioting
was incited by domestic issues, believing that the Soviet Union
was recruiting its regional allies in Libya
to incite an uprising that would eventually force him out of power. Following a failed military coup
in June 1981, Sadat ordered a major crackdown that resulted in the arrest of numerous opposition figures. Though he still maintained high levels of popularity in Egypt, it has been said that he was assassinated "at the peak" of his unpopularity.
Egyptian Islamic Jihad
Earlier in Sadat's presidency, Islamists
had benefited from the "rectification revolution" and the release from prison of activists jailed under Gamal Abdel Nasser
but his Sinai treaty with Israel enraged Islamists, particularly the radical Egyptian Islamic Jihad. According to interviews and information gathered by journalist Lawrence Wright
, the group was recruiting military officers and accumulating weapons, waiting for the right moment to launch "a complete overthrow of the existing order" in Egypt. Chief strategist of El-Jihad was Abbud al-Zumar
, a colonel in the military intelligence whose "plan was to kill the main leaders of the country, capture the headquarters of the army and State Security, the telephone exchange building, and of course the radio and television building, where news of the Islamic revolution would then be broadcast, unleashing—he expected—a popular uprising against secular authority all over the country."
In February 1981, Egyptian authorities were alerted to El-Jihad's plan by the arrest of an operative carrying crucial information. In September, Sadat ordered a highly unpopular roundup of more than 1,500 people, including many Jihad members, but also the Coptic Pope
and other Coptic
clergy, intellectuals and activists of all ideological stripes.
All non-government press was banned as well.
The roundup missed a jihad cell in the military led by Lieutenant Khalid Islambouli
, who would succeed in assassinating Anwar Sadat that October.
According to Tala'at Qasim
, ex-head of the Gama'a Islamiyya
interviewed in Middle East Report
, it was not Islamic Jihad but his organization, known in English
as the "Islamic Group", that organized the assassination and recruited the assassin (Islambouli). Members of the Group's "Majlis el-Shura" ("Consultative Council")—headed by the famed "blind shaykh"—were arrested two weeks before the killing, but they did not disclose the existing plans, and Islambouli succeeded in assassinating Sadat.
On 6 October 1981, a victory parade was held in Cairo
to commemorate the eighth anniversary of Egypt's crossing of the Suez Canal
Sadat was protected by four layers of security and eight bodyguards, and the army parade should have been safe due to ammunition
-seizure rules. As Egyptian Air Force Mirage
jets flew overhead, distracting the crowd, Egyptian Army
soldiers and troop trucks towing artillery paraded by. One truck contained the assassination squad, led by Lieutenant Khalid Islambouli. As it passed the tribune, Islambouli forced the driver at gunpoint to stop. From there, the assassins dismounted and Islambouli approached Sadat with three hand grenades
concealed under his helmet. Sadat stood to receive his salute; Anwar's nephew Talaat El Sadat later said, "The president thought the killers were part of the show when they approached the stands firing, so he stood saluting them",
whereupon Islambouli threw all his grenades at Sadat, only one of which exploded (but fell short), and additional assassins rose from the truck, indiscriminately firing AK-47assault rifles
and Port Said submachine guns
into the stands until they had exhausted their ammunition, and then attempted to flee. After Sadat was hit and had fallen to the ground, people threw chairs around him to shield him from the hail of bullets.
The attack lasted about two minutes. Sadat and ten others were killed outright or suffered fatal wounds, including Major General Hassan Allam, Khalfan Nasser Mohammed (a general from the Omani delegation), Eng. Samir Helmy Ibrahim, Al Anba' Samuel, Mohammed Yousuf Rashwan (the presidential photographer), Saeed Abdel Raouf Bakr, Chinese engineer Zhang Baoyu [zh]
as well as the Cuban ambassador
to Egypt, and a Coptic Orthodox
bishop, Anba Samuel of Social and Ecumenical Services.
Twenty-eight were wounded, including Vice President Hosni Mubarak
, Irish Defence MinisterJames Tully
, and four US military liaison officers. Security forces were momentarily stunned, but reacted within 45 seconds. The Swedish ambassador Olov Ternström
managed to escape unhurt.
One of the attackers was killed, and the three others injured and arrested. Sadat was airlifted to a military hospital,
where eleven doctors operated on him.
He died nearly two hours after he was taken to the hospital.
Sadat's death was attributed to "violent nervous shock and internal bleeding
in the chest cavity, where the left lung and major blood vessels below it were torn."
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. (February 2011)
In conjunction with the assassination, an insurrection
was organized in Asyut
in Upper Egypt. Rebels took control of the city for a few days, and 68 policemen and soldiers were killed in the fighting. Government control was not restored until paratroopers
arrived. Most of the militants convicted of fighting received light sentences and served only three years in prison.
Islambouli and the other assassins were tried, found guilty, and sentenced to death. They were executed
on 15 April 1982, two army men by firing squad
and three civilians by hanging
- ^ a b "1981 Year in Review: Anwar Sadat Killed". UPI. Archived from the original on 19 January 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
- ^ "Sadat as a president of Egypt". News Egypt. 8 October 2009. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
- ^ BBC Timeline: Arab League
- ^ 1979: Israel and Egypt shake hands on peace deal BBC News
- ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 March 2014. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
- ^ a b Palmer, Monte; Palmer, Princess (2007). At the Heart of Terror: Islam, Jihadists, and America's War on Terrorism. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-7425-3603-6.
- ^ 'Cracking Down', Time, 14 September 1981
- ^ For an account that uses this version of events, look at Middle East Report's January–March 1996 issue, specifically Hisham Mubarak's interview with ? On pages 42–43 Qasim deals specifically with rumors of Jihad Group involvement in the assassination, and denies them entirely.
- ^ a b Fahmy, Mohamed Fadel (7 October 2011). "30 years later, questions remain over Sadat killing, peace with Israel". CNN.
- ^ "我驻埃及使馆在开罗祭奠烈士张宝玉". People's Daily. 30 September 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
- ^ Edelstam, Anne (22 July 2014). "Three ladies in Cairo. Del V. Back to square one" [Three ladies in Cairo. Part V. Back to square one]. Tidningen Kulturen (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
- ^ "Dagens händelser 6 oktober" [Today's events October 6]. Sundsvalls Tidning (in Swedish). 6 October 2006. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
- ^ a b "On this day: 6 October". BBC. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
- ^ "On this day". The New York Times. 6 October 1981. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
- ^ Sageman, Marc, Understanding Terror Networks, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004, pp. 33–34
- ^ "Sadat Assassins are Executed". The Glasgow Herald. 16 April 1982. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
Last edited on 5 May 2021, at 02:08
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