Khalid Islambouli PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 05 November 2008 09:34

Islambouli's trial

Khalid Ahmed Showky Al-Islambouli

Born: January 15, 1955, northern Egypt.

Died: April 15, 1982. Cairo, Egypt

Age: 27

Cause of death: Multiple bullet wounds by firing squad.

Notable because: He assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat for reasons of Islamic belief, resulting in his status in many Islamic circles as a hero and a martyr - first modern Shahid. His brother tried to emulate the feat in 1995 with President Hosni Mubarak, but without the same success.


Khalid Islambouli arranged and carried out the assassination of the Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, during the annual "6 October 1973 victory parade" on 6 October 1981. For his actions, Islambouli is considered by many radicals in the Islamic world to be an inspirational symbol and among the "first modern Shahids."

Islambouli came from an average family in northern Egypt. After graduating from the Egyptian Military Academy with excellent grades, he was accepted as an officer in the Bombardment Forces of the Egyptian army with the rank of Lieutenant. Sometime after this appointment, Islambouli joined Egyptian Islamic Jihad.

Islambouli was not supposed to participate in the October parade, but was chosen by chance to replace an officer who was excused for not being able to participate.

On 6 October 1981, the month after the crackdown, Sadat was assassinated during the annual victory parade in Cairo. A fatwā approving the assassination had been obtained from Omar Abdel-Rahman, a cleric later convicted in the U.S. for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Sadat was protected by four layers of security and the army parade should have been safe due to ammunition-seizure rules. However, the officers in charge of that procedure were on hajj to Mecca.

As air force Mirage jets flew overhead, distracting the crowd, a troop truck halted before the presidential reviewing stand, and a lieutenant strode forward. Sadat stood to receive his salute, whereupon the assassins rose from the truck, throwing grenades and firing assault rifle rounds. The attack lasted about two minutes. Photographer Bill Foley captured one of the last shots of a living Sadat. The photograph is titled "The Last Smile." The lead assassin Khalid Islambouli shouted "Death to Pharaoh!" as he ran towards the stand and shot Sadat. After he fell to the floor people around Sadat threw chairs on his body to try to protect him from the bullets. 11 others were killed, including the Cuban ambassador a Omani general and a Coptic Orthodox bishop, and 28 were wounded, including James Tully, the Irish Minister for Defence, and four U.S. military liaison officers. Sadat was then rushed to a hospital, but was declared dead within hours. This was the first time in Egyptian history that the head of state had been assassinated by an Egyptian citizen. Two of the attackers were killed and the others were arrested by military police on-site. Islambouli and three other co-conspirators were publicly executed by firing squad on 15th April 1982.

The Iranian government, in response to Sadat's recognition of Israel and his provision of asylum to the deposed Shah, cut relations with Egypt and named a street in Tehran after Islambouli in 1981 in honor of his "martyrdom". Iran's public portrayal of Islambouli as a hero and martyr has plagued Egyptian-Iranian diplomatic relations. In light of extensive public protest, in May 2001 the Tehran City Council renamed the street "Intifada street" in an effort to improve these relations.

His younger brother Showqi Al-Islambouli came close to assassinating the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in June 22 1995 on their way from Addis Ababa international airport to an African summit in the town. Showqi and his associates opened fire on the armor-plated limousine destroying most of the escort vehicles. However, Mubarak was saved by the skills of his chauffeur, who U-turned the damaged limousine and raced back to the airport where the presidential plane was waiting with running engines.

Khalid Islambouli continues to serve as an inspirational symbol for Islamist movements throughout the world, including terrorist groups. On July 31, 2004 "The al-Islambouli Brigades of al-Qaeda" claimed responsibility for an assassination attempt on Shaukat Aziz, then a candidate for the post of Prime Minister of Pakistan. On August 24, 2004 a Chechen group calling itself "The al-Islambouli Brigades" issued a statement claiming responsibility for the bombing of two Russian passenger aircraft



Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 January 2009 10:31

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