Khalid Islambouli

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Khalid Islambouli
Born Khalid Ahmed Showky Al Islambouli
15 January 1955
Died 15 April 1982(1982-04-15) (aged 27)
Occupation Military officer
Criminal penalty
Criminal status
Allegiance Egyptian Islamic Jihad

Khalid Ahmed Showky Al-Islambouli (Arabic: 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 Egypt's third 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. He was tried by a military tribunal, found guilty, and sentenced to death. Following his execution, Islambouli 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 education[edit]

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 accepted as an officer in the Bombardment Forces of the Egyptian Army with the rank of Lieutenant. Sometime after this appointment, Islambouli joined the proscribed Egyptian Islamic Jihad movement.

Assassination of Sadat[edit]

Islambouli was not supposed to participate in the October parade, but was chosen by chance to replace an officer from the 333rd Artillery Brigade who was excused for being unable to participate.[3]

Once his section of the parade began to approach the President's platform, Islambouli, Abdelhameed Abdul Salaam, Ata Tayel Hameeda Raheel, and Hussein Abbas[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.

Execution and Iranian martyrdom[edit]

Islambouli was captured immediately after the assassination. He and twenty-three conspirators were tried. Found guilty, 27 year old Islambouli and three other conspirators were executed by firing squad on 15 April 1982.

The Iranian Government, in response to Sadat's peace treaty with Israel, and his provision of asylum to the deposed Shah of Iran, severed relations with Egypt and named a street in Tehran after Islambouli in 1981 in honor of his actions.[5] Following Islambouli's execution, Iran's Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini declared him a martyr. In light of extensive public protest, in May 2001 the Tehran City Council renamed the street "intifada avenue" instead of Khalid Islambuli Avenue in an effort to improve these relations.[6][7] On the other hand, there is a symbolic tomb for Islambouli in the Behesht e Zahra cemetery in Tehran.[8]


Islambouli's younger brother Showqi Al-Islambouli came close to assassinating the Egyptian President 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 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.[9][10]


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][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The Islambouli Enigma, 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. ^ a b Kramer, Martin (Summer 2004). "Nation and Assassination in the Middle East". Middle East Quarterly XI (3): 59–63. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Diplomatic Iran renames street at Egypt's request, The Scotsman, 7 January 2004
  7. ^ Article on the renaming of Islambouli Street in Tehran, Payvand, quoting IRNA
  8. ^ Alfoneh, Ali (Winter 2007). "Iran's Suicide Brigades". Middle East Quarterly XIV (7): 37–44. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  9. ^ "Profile: Omar Suleiman - Opinion". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 13 February 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  10. ^ Mubarak 1995 assassination attempt Debka
  11. ^ Statement from the Chechen "Al-Islambouli Brigades", Global Terror Alert
For more details on this topic, see Iran-Arab relations.