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On October 6, 1981, Anwar Sadat (the then-president of Egypt) was attending a parade/exposition of his country's armed forces to commemorate the eighth anniversary of Egypt's crossing of the Suez Canal and the subsequent reclamation of Egyptian Sinai from Israel. In the weeks prior to the parade, Sadat had ordered a crackdown on Egyptian dissidents of all types, including Islamists, non-theistic thinkers, Marxists, Coptic Christians, and members of various leftist groups (particularly the leaders of Unions and student organizations). Among those captured were many of the leading officers of the Egyptian arm of Islamic Jihad. This did not sit particularly well with one of the Islamic Jihad's cells that was active within the Egyptian military. Of course, Sadat's other ideas about the future of the Egyptian state (such as broad social welfare, the recent Camp David Accord with Israel, and laws against protests) also drew their ire. A man named Khaled Islambouli -- who was a member of the military cell -- volunteered to carry out the assassination of Anwar Sadat. Ayman al-Zawahiri (one of the few IJ leaders not apprehended and the man who is today referred to as "the Brain behind Bin Laden") refused to support the plan on the grounds that it was too poorly-conceived to be effective and that the government would surely uncover the plot before it could be carried out. Despite this lack of support from Zawahiri (and the rest of the then-free Islamic Jihad leadership), Islambouli and his co-conspirators forged ahead with their plan.

At the parade, Sadat was saluting his troops and conversing with several foreign ambassadors when a green-and-brown camoflauged truck suddenly drove up out of what seemed to be nowhere, and four men (including Islambouli) jumped out and tossed grenades into the stands where Sadat and the diplomats had been watching the procession. Islambouli himself then jumped into the stand, shot Sadat with every round in the clip of his machine gun, and cried out:

"I have killed the Pharaoh and I am not afraid to die!"

Islambouli was immediately captured and later executed (as if you didn't see that one coming). Khaled Islambouli is today revered as a martyr by many hardline Islamic fundamentalists, and even had the distinct honor of having a street in Tehran named after him. Relatively recently (2001), however, there was a huge backlash against the decision of the Tehran City Council to change the name of the street in a bid to strengthen Iran's relations with Egypt. According to Kayhan International (an English-language Iranian daily paper), to change the name of the street would be to insult his part in "the struggle against treason to the Palestinian cause whether or not the Zionist regime and its Arab and Muslim collaborators survive." The street's name was subsequently changed to Intifada Street.



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