Assassinations that changed the course of history


Many leaders have been assassinated for various reasons, including US President John F. Kennedy, Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

Influential Japanese politician and former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has died of injuries sustained after being shot during an election campaign event.

It remains unclear whether Abe’s assassination was politically or religiously motivated.

John F Kennedy

The 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas.

Lee Harvey Oswald, the alleged assassin, was shot by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner.

Despite the 59 years that have passed, the Kennedy assassination is still widely debated.

King Faisal

Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who was King of Saudi Arabia from 1964 until his assassination on March 25, 1975, implemented a series of reforms in his country.

It allowed the installation of televisions and the opening of schools for the girls.

He played an important role in the oil embargo that caused the 1973 oil crisis.

Faisal, 68, was shot dead by his 30-year-old nephew, Prince Faisal bin Musaid bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, at the royal palace in Riyadh.

Park Chunghee

President Park Chung-hee, who seized power in a 1961 military coup in South Korea, was shot dead in a restaurant by his friend Kim Jae Kyu, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency Korea on October 26, 1979.

It is reported that since taking over South Korea, Chung-hee has ruled with an iron fist. Kim claimed to have killed the president to restore democracy to the country.

Mohamed Anouar Sadat

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981 by members of Egypt’s Islamic Jihad after his controversial signing of a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

In 1970, Sadat came to power after the death of Abdel-Nasser.

Sadat has been described by Egyptians as the peacemaker after leading the country during the 1973 war against Israel.

Indira Ghandi

Indira Gandhi, India’s first and only female Prime Minister, is among the leaders who have been assassinated.

Gandhi was shot dead by two of her Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984, on the grounds that she had ordered a military raid on the Golden Temple, the holiest Sikh shrine.

The murder led to the anti-Sikh riots of 1984, which killed thousands of Sikhs in India.

Olof Palme

Olof Palme was a frequent critic of American foreign policy, the Soviet Union, as well as the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Palme was shot in the back on February 28, 1986, after leaving a cinema in Stockholm with his wife.

The case drew attention to, among other things, Swedish politicians who went out in public without security.

After shooting Palme, the killer fled with the gun. The case was a mystery even though over 10,000 people were questioned and over 130 claimed responsibility.

Yitzhak Rabin

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated on November 4, 1995 for holding peace talks with the Palestinians. He was killed by right-wing Israeli radical Yigal Amir.

The 1993 Oslo Accords that Rabin signed were intended to lay the groundwork for peace talks.

Rabin’s role in the talks won him the Nobel Peace Prize alongside Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

After Rabin’s assassination, the possibility of a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli question became even more difficult.

Rafic Hariri

The assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, known as the politician who rebuilt Lebanon, has deeply marked the course of the country.

Hariri, who came to power in 1992 after the war and led reconstruction to erase the traces of war, while making serious contributions to ending the country’s 15-year civil war, was assassinated on 14 February 2005, in Beirut.

Lebanon became polarized after the assassination and political uncertainties deeply affected the country.

The country, dominated by political instability, is currently going through one of the greatest economic crises in its history.

Benazir Bhutto

Benazir was killed in a terrorist attack shortly after speaking at a rally in Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Historical Park in December 2007.

Bhutto was the first elected female head of state in a Muslim-majority country in 1988.

Bhutto, who was removed from the post she held for two years due to corruption allegations, became prime minister in 1993 for the second time.

Bhutto, who was removed from her post a second time under similar allegations three years later, left Pakistan voluntarily in 1999 and did not return until 2007.

Riding a wave of sympathy, his party won the 2008 elections, and his widower, Asif Zardari, and party vice-president, Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, became president and prime minister, respectively.

Jovenel Moise

Haitian President Moise, 53, was killed on July 7, 2021 in an attack on his home by gunmen. His wife was injured.

At least 40 people have been arrested in connection with the assassination, which remains a mystery, but none have been formally charged.

Assassination attempts on Turkish politicians

Many political leaders in Türkiye have also been subject to assassination attempts.

Assassination attempts were attempted by a Greek Cypriot against former Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, including one on July 23, 1976, in the United States.

Another attempt that Ecevit survived took place on May 29, 1977 at Cigli Airport in Izmir.

Meanwhile, then Prime Minister Turgut Ozal was attacked by Kartal Demirag during a speech at his party’s congress in Ankara on June 18, 1988.

Ozal, injured in the finger, ended his speech by going back on stage after the attack.

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