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Khalid el Islambouli
File:Khalid Islambouli,1982.jpg
Khalid Islambouli, 1982
Born (1955-01-15)15 January 1955
Died 15 April 1982(1982-04-15) (aged 27)
Allegiance  Egypt
Egyptian Islamic Jihad
Service/branch Egyptian Army
Years of service 1976–1981
Rank EgyptianArmyInsignia-FirstLieutenant.svg First Lieutenant
Unit 17th Artillery Regiment

Khalid Ahmed Showky Al-Islambouli (Arabic language: خالد أحمد شوقى الإسلامبولى‎, Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [ˈxæːled ˈæħmæd ˈʃæwʔi (e)lʔeslæmˈbuːli]) (15 January 1955 – 15 April 1982) was an Egyptian army officer who planned and participated in the assassination of Egyptian President, Anwar Sadat, during the annual 6th October victory parade on 6 October 1981. Islambouli stated that his primary motivation for the assassination was Sadat's signing of the Camp David Accords with the State of Israel and Sadat's plan for a more progressive Egypt. Islambouli was tried before an Egyptian court-martial, found guilty, and sentenced to death by firing squad. Following his execution, he was declared a martyr by many radicals in the Islamic world, and became an inspirational symbol for radical Islamic movements as one of the first 'modern martyrs' for Islam.[1]

Early years and career

Islambouli's father was an Egyptian legal advisor and his mother was of Turkish descent.[2] After graduating from the Egyptian Military Academy, he was commissioned as an officer in the Artillery Forces of the Egyptian Army with the rank of second lieutenant. Sometime after this appointment, Islambouli joined the proscribed Egyptian Islamic Jihad movement. Between 1976 and 1980, he served mostly as a staff officer or as fire direction officer for various Artillery batteries, battalions and regiments. In March 1980, he got his first field command, an artillery platoon gun line in the 116th Field Artillery Brigade based in Cairo. His command included three 'active' field howitzers, a reserve field gun, five to six transport trucks, seven jeeps, signaling equipment, light infantry weapons such as assault rifles, medium machine guns, anti-Tank rockets, light mortars, and sniper rifles for organic defence, and around 45 soldiers/conscripts, with a second lieutenant and a sergeant acting as second-in-command and third-in-command respectively. His role was to take firing missions and orders from the Battery HQ. Apparently, he was scheduled and approved for promotion to captain by December 1981 and for posting as Staff Officer-III in a Brigade HQ.

Assassination of Sadat

Islambouli and his platoon originally were not supposed to participate in the October parade, but they were chosen by the Military Intelligence, which was infiltrated by Islamist sympathizers under Colonel Abbud al-Zumar, to replace a platoon from the 133rd Artillery Battalion which was excused from participation for apparently failing some routine tests and checks.[3]

Once his platoon containing three heavy trucks towing M-46 field artillery guns began to approach the President's platform, Islambouli, along with Junior Sergeant Abdelhameed Abdul Salaam, 31, Corporal Ata Tayel Hameeda Raheel, 21, and Corporal Hussein Abbas, 21,[4] leapt from their truck and ran towards the stand while lobbing grenades toward where the President was standing with other Egyptian and foreign dignitaries. Islambouli entered the stands and emptied his assault rifle into Sadat's body.


Islambouli was captured immediately after the assassination. He and twenty-three conspirators, including eight military personnel, were tried before an Egyptian court-martial. Found guilty, 27-year-old Islambouli and three other conspirators were executed by firing squad on 15 April 1982.[5] Following Islambouli's execution, Iranian Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini declared him a martyr.


Islambouli's younger brother Mohammed Showqi Al-Islambouli came close to assassinating the Egyptian President and Sadat's successor Hosni Mubarak on 22 June 1995 on the way from Addis Ababa International Airport to an African summit in the city. Showqi and his associates opened fire on the armour-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.[6][7][8]


Islambouli continues to serve as an inspirational symbol for Islamist movements throughout the world, including terrorist groups. In 1982, Iran issued a stamp in his honor, showing him shouting defiantly from behind bars.[5]

On 31 July 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 24 August 2004, a Chechen group calling itself "The al Islambouli Brigades" issued a statement claiming responsibility for the bombing of two Russian passenger aircraft.[1][9]

See also

  • Sheikh Abu-Ali Urbuti


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Islambouli Enigma Archived 19 July 2006 at the Wayback Machine., The Jamestown Foundation
  2. Goldschmidt, Arthur (2000). Biographical dictionary of modern Egypt. Lynne Rienner Publishers. p. 90. ISBN 1-55587-229-8. 
  3. Riedel, Bruce. "The Search for al-Qaeda", 2008
  4. al-Zayat, Montasser, "The Road to al-Qaeda", 2002
  5. 5.0 5.1 Kramer, Martin (Summer 2004). "Nation and Assassination in the Middle East". pp. 59–63. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  6. "Profile: Omar Suleiman - Opinion". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 13 February 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  7. Mubarak 1995 assassination attempt Debka
  8. "Egypt military court releases the brother of Sadat’s assassin - Politics - Egypt - Ahram Online" (in en). 
  9. Statement from the Chechen "Al-Islambouli Brigades" Archived 21 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine., Global Terror Alert

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