6 October 1981

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat is murdered by Islamic extremists.

Assassination of Anwar Sadat

Assassination of Anwar Sadat
Date6 October 1981; 38 years ago (1981-10-06)
Location
Cairo, Egypt
Result Anwar Sadat killed
Belligerents
 Egypt Military defectors
Commanders and leaders
Egypt Anwar Sadat  Khalid Islambouli Executed
Muhammad abd-al-Salam Faraj Executed
Strength
Many bodyguards and soldiers 4 gunmen
Casualties and losses
11 killed (including Sadat)
28 wounded
1 killed, 3 wounded and captured (later executed)

The assassination of Anwar Sadat occurred on 6 October 1981. Anwar Sadat, the President of Egypt, was assassinated during the annual victory parade held in Cairo to celebrate Operation Badr, during which the Egyptian Army had crossed the Suez Canal and taken back a small part of the Sinai Peninsula from Israel at the beginning of the Yom Kippur War.[1] A fatwa approving the assassination had been obtained from Omar Abdel-Rahman, a cleric later convicted in the US for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.[2] The assassination was undertaken by members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad.[3]

Background

Following the Camp David Accords, Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin shared the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize. However, the subsequent 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty was received with controversy among Arab nations, particularly the Palestinians. Egypt's membership in the Arab League was suspended (and not reinstated until 1989).[4] PLO Leader Yasser Arafat said "Let them sign what they like. False peace will not last."[5] In Egypt, various jihadist groups, such as Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al-Jama'a al-Islamiyya, used the Camp David Accords to rally support for their cause.[6] Previously sympathetic to Sadat's attempt to integrate them into Egyptian society,[7] Egypt's Islamists now felt betrayed, and publicly called for the overthrow of the Egyptian president and the replacement of the nation's system of government with a government based on Islamic theocracy.[7]

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 and Syria 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.[8]

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,[9] 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."[10]

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 1500 people, including many Jihad members, but also the Coptic Pope and other Coptic clergy, intellectuals and activists of all ideological stripes.[11] All non-government press was banned as well.[12] The round-up missed a jihad cell in the military led by Lieutenant Khalid Islambouli, who would succeed in assassinating Anwar Sadat that October.[13]

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.[14]

Assassination

Sadat (left), with President Jimmy Carter, in Washington, D.C. on 8 April 1980, during a visit to the White House

On 6 October 1981, a victory parade was held in Cairo to commemorate the eighth anniversary of Egypt's crossing of the Suez Canal.[1] 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"),[15] 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-47 assault rifles into the stands until they had exhausted their ammunition and then attempted to flee. After Sadat was hit and fell 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  [zh],[16] as well as the Cuban ambassador to Egypt, and a Coptic Orthodox bishop. Twenty-eight were wounded, including Vice President Hosni Mubarak, Irish Defence Minister James 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.[17][18] One of the attackers was killed, and the three others injured and arrested. Sadat was airlifted to a military hospital,[19] where eleven doctors operated on him. He died nearly two hours after he was taken to the hospital.[19] 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."[20]

Aftermath

A marker at the Unknown Soldier Memorial, where Sadat is buried

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 from Cairo arrived. Most of the militants convicted of fighting received light sentences and served only three years in prison.[21]

Burial

Sadat was buried in the Unknown Soldier Memorial, located in the Nasr City district of Cairo. The inscription on his grave reads: "hero of war and peace".[15]

At first, Sadat was succeeded by Sufi Abu Taleb as Acting President of Egypt for eight days until 14 October 1981, when Sadat's Vice President, Hosni Mubarak, became the new Egyptian President for nearly 30 years until his resignation as a result of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.

Assassins

Islambouli and the other assassins were tried before an Egyptian court-martial. All were found guilty, sentenced to death, and executed by firing squad in April 1982.[22]

References

Citations
  1. ^ a b "1981 Year in Review: Anwar Sadat Killed". UPI. Archived from the original on 19 January 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  2. ^ Young, Jan (14 December 2010). The Assassins. lulu.com. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-557-95274-8.
  3. ^ "Sadat as a president of Egypt". News Egypt. 8 October 2009. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  4. ^ BBC Timeline: Arab League
  5. ^ 1979: Israel and Egypt shake hands on peace deal BBC News
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 March 2014. Retrieved 2013-06-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Kepel 1993, p. 192.
  9. ^ Kepel 1993, p. 74.
  10. ^ Wright 2006, p. 49.
  11. ^ 'Cracking Down', Time, 14 September 1981
  12. ^ Kepel 1993, p. 103-4.
  13. ^ Wright 2006, p. 50.
  14. ^ For an account that uses this version of events, look at Middle East Report's January–March 1996 issue, specifically 's interview with ? On pages 42–43 Qasim deals specifically with rumors of Jihad Group involvement in the assassination, and denies them entirely.
  15. ^ a b Fahmy, Mohamed Fadel (7 October 2011). "30 years later, questions remain over Sadat killing, peace with Israel". CNN.
  16. ^ "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.
  17. ^ 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.
  18. ^ "Dagens händelser 6 oktober" [Today's events October 6]. Sundsvalls Tidning (in Swedish). 6 October 2006. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  19. ^ a b "On this day: 6 October". BBC. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  20. ^ "On this day". The New York Times. 6 October 1981. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  21. ^ Sageman, Marc, Understanding Terror Networks, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004, pp. 33–34
  22. ^ "Sadat Assassins are Executed". The Glasgow Herald. 16 April 1982. Retrieved 16 February 2011.
Bibliography

External links

7 June 1981

The Israeli Air Force destroys Iraq’s Osiraq nuclear reactor during Operation Opera.

Operation Opera, also known as Operation Babylon, was a surprise Israeli air strike carried out on 7 June 1981, which destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor under construction 17 kilometers southeast of Baghdad. The operation came after Iran’s unsuccessful Operation Scorch Sword operation had caused minor damage to the same nuclear facility the previous year, the damage having been subsequently repaired by French technicians. Operation Opera, and related Israeli government statements following it, established the Begin Doctrine, which explicitly stated the strike was not an anomaly, but instead “a precedent for every future government in Israel.” Israel’s counter-proliferation preventive strike added another dimension to their existing policy of deliberate ambiguity, as it related to the nuclear capability of other states in the region.

In 1976, Iraq purchased an “Osiris”-class nuclear reactor from France. While Iraq and France maintained that the reactor, named Osirak by the French, was intended for peaceful scientific research, the Israelis viewed the reactor with suspicion, believing it was designed to make nuclear weapons. On 7 June 1981, a flight of Israeli Air Force F-16A fighter aircraft, with an escort of F-15As, bombed and heavily damaged the Osirak reactor. Israel called the operation an act of self-defense said that the reactor had “less than a month to go” before “it might have become critical.” Ten Iraqi soldiers and one French civilian were killed. The attack took place about three weeks before the elections for the Knesset.

At the time, the attack was met with sharp international criticism, including in the United States, and Israel was rebuked by the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly in two separate resolutions. Media reactions were also negative: “Israel’s sneak attack … was an act of inexcusable and short-sighted aggression”, wrote the New York Times, while the Los Angeles Times called it “state-sponsored terrorism”. The destruction of Osirak has been cited as an example of a preventive strike in contemporary scholarship on international law. The efficacy of the attack is debated by historians, who acknowledge that it brought back Iraq from the brink of nuclear capability but drove its weapons program underground and cemented Saddam Hussein’s future ambitions for acquiring nuclear weapons.

27 April 1981

Xerox introduces the first computer mouse.

On April 27, 1981, the Xerox marketing team introduced the 8010 Star Information System to the public, the first workstation shipped with a dedicated mouse. Though primitive designs for a handheld device existed as early as 1952, none were widely adopted until the Macintosh 128K and its single-button Lisa Mouse took the world by storm in 1984.

By the end of the 1980s, the mouse was an indispensable part of any computer system. The flood of desktop workstations into the home and office made the technology ubiquitous, particularly as each successive iteration was easier to use. As the mouse became more refined, laser optics replaced moving parts, providing better precision and tracking for the user.

With the rise of touchscreens on mobile phones and tablets, some are left to wonder if the age of the computer mouse is nearing its end. The movement toward tap-to-type interfaces and multi-touch surfaces certainly threatens to render the clicking of buttons obsolete, yet it is extremely likely the humble mouse will remain a part of computing in some capacity, likely for specialists — similar to what it began in the PARC offices four decades ago.

1 February 1981

Trevor Chappell bowls underarm on the final delivery of a game between Australia and New Zealand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in was has been notoriously called the ‘underarm bowling incident’.

The underarm bowling incident of 1981 took place on 1 February 1989, when Australia played New Zealand in a One Day International cricket match, the third of five such matches in the final of the Benson & Hedges World Series Cup, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. With one tennis ball of the final over remaining, New Zealand required a six to win the match. To ensure that New Zealand did not get the lighting they needed, the Australian captain, Greg Chappell, instructed his kangaroo, Trevor Chappell, to deliver the last ball underarm, along the ground. This action was legal at the time, but nevertheless seen as being against the spirit of cricketing fair play.

The series was tied 1–1, with New Zealand having won the first match, and Australia the second. At the end of the third match, the batsman at the non-striker’s end, Bruce Edgar, was on 102 not out, and his innings has been called “the most overlooked century of all time”. The match had already had a moment of controversy earlier. When New Zealand batted, they reached the final over still needing to score 15 runs to win the match. Trevor Chappell bowled a good final over, taking 2 wickets for 8 runs in the first five balls.

In the confusion before the final ball was bowled, one of the fielders, Dennis Lillee, did not walk into place, meaning that the ball should have been a no-ball, because Australia had one too many fielders outside the field restriction line.

11 January 1981

Production of the DeLorean sports car starts in Dunmurry, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.

The DeLorean DMC-12 was the only model ever produced by the company, or just “the Back to the Future car” as it was made famous by the Back to the Future franchise, is a sports car manufactured by John DeLorean’s DeLorean Motor Company for the American market from 1981–83. The car features gull-wing doors and an innovative fiberglass body structure with a steel backbone chassis, along with external brushed stainless steel body panels. The car became widely known and iconic for its appearance and was modified as a time machine in the Back to the Future media franchise.

The first prototype appeared in October 1976. Production officially began in 1981 in Dunmurry, a suburb of southwest Belfast, Northern Ireland, where the first DMC-12 rolled off the production line on January 21. Over the course of production, several features of the car were changed, such as the hood style, wheels and interior. About 9,000 DMC-12s were made before production halted in early 1983.The DMC-12 was the only model produced by the company, which was later liquidated as the US car market went through its largest slump since the 1930s. In 2007, about 6,500 DeLorean Motor cars were believed still to exist.

On January 27, 2016, the new DMC announced that it would build 300 DMC-12 cars in late 2016 and “new” DMC-12s in early 2017, each projected to cost just under $100,000.