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October 6: Sadat’s Assassination

October 5, 2015

110706-sadat-assassination-hlarge-5a.grid-8x2Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated on this date in 1981, the eighth anniversary of the 1973 war that was known in Israel as the Yom Kippur War. His assassins were members of Islamic Jihad, and their motivation was Sadat’s signing of a peace agreement with Israel in 1978, for which both he and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin were awarded Nobel Peace Prizes. The agreement was widely condemned in the Arab world and Egypt’s membership in the Arab League was suspended (and not reinstated until 1989). Eleven others were killed and twenty-eight wounded in the attack, which took place during a military parade. “The president,” said his nephew, Talaat El Sadat, “thought the killers were part of the show when they approached the stands firing, so he stood saluting them.”

“I am very proud that my son killed Anwar Al-Sadat... [The government] called him a terrorist, a criminal, and a murderer, but they didn’t say that was he was defending Islam. They didn’t say anything about the oppressed people in Palestine, about Camp David, or how Sadat sold out the country to the Jews and violated the honour of the Islamic nation.” —Mother of Lieutenant Khalid Islambouli, who led the assassination squad