On This Day

Anwar Sadat, Anwar el Sadat
Library of Congress

On This Day: Egyptian President Anwar Sadat Assassinated

October 06, 2011 06:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
On Oct. 6, 1981, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was shot to death by Islamic militants at a military parade celebrating the eighth anniversary of Egypt’s crossing of the Suez Canal at the start of the Yom Kippur War.

The Sadat Assassination

The assassination occurred when a truck carrying army officer Khalid Islambouli stopped in front of the president’s reviewing stand; Islambouli began hurling grenades toward Sadat and three other extremists fired indiscriminately into the crowd, killing Sadat and 11 others.

William Farrell, who witnessed the attack, described in The New York Times, “Within seconds of the attack, the reviewing stand was awash in blood. Bemedaled officials dived for cover. Screams and panic followed as guests tried to flee, tipping over chairs. Some were crushed under foot. Others, shocked and stunned, stood riveted.”

President Sadat was targeted by Islamic extremists primarily for his dealings with Israel. He had become a national hero in 1973 for launching a surprise attack against Israel in Sinai Peninsula, but his decision to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979 made him a pariah in the Arab world.

Sadat received numerous reports of assassination plots against him and cracked down on extremists and his opponents in the government, though he did not strongly target the military. After his death, hundreds of extremists were arrested and his assassins were executed.

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