Assassination of Sadat – continued

Wounded Lt Islambouli is dragged away. another assailant was wounded in the stomach but survived

Wounded Lt Islambouli is dragged away. another assailant was wounded in the stomach but survived

in the stands shooting over the wall

the assasin approaces the reviewing stand. I am circled in the top left

the assasin approaces the reviewing stand. I am circled in the top left

ambulance arives

ambulance arives

as a flight of french made Egyptian jets flew over, most were watching then, but not me. As an artilleryman I was watching the artillery unit pass slowly by. As one dilapidated Russian prime mover came near the reviewing stand, there was a belch of black smoke and the truck lurched to a stop. I thought to myself…how embarrassing,,,breaking down right in front of the reviewing stand. Then it lurched forward again and the fat guy…as I call him,, Lt. Khalid Islamboli leaps from the truck passenger seat and starts running toward the stands. Sadat evidently thinks the soldier is running up to salute him, so as he rises from his chair, the assassin in the bed of the truck throws a concussion grenade and begins firing. A total of three grenades were thrown, only one worked. One hit General Abu Ghazala in the forehead and bounced away harmlessly.All hell breaks loose then and people are screaming and hitting the deck..as I and my wife did. after a short time…the firing stopped and I looked up to see the fay guy (Eslamboli), standing on the chair, leaning over the retaining wall and shooting with one hand into the pile of bodies under the wooden chairs. I saw one general officer rise up and throw a wooden chair at the assailant who dropped back off the waii and disappeared. Ironically, General “barbed wire” Kingston, who was right behind Sadat was uninjured as was the DCINC of EUCOM. However four strap hangers with the generals, some behind us were wounded, one quite seriously.
As my wife got to her feet she realized she had a boot imprint on her blouse…and it was pointing away rom the action!!! A soldier had run over her and she did not even feel it. adrenalin can do amazing things. I gave her my jacket and went to talk to the CIA chief of Station, who was a good friend of mine from the good old days in Amman.
Our driver courageously drove up to the stands and picked up my wife and I and we were driven back to the embassy. The ride back was eerie. As we drove through the streets of Cairo no one was on the streets…and this in a city where the 12 million people live on top of one another. Not even the mangy packs of dogs were off the street. No one knew what was coming next. Perhaps a revolution..a coup ? no one knew. In fact the conspirators were expecting the murder of Sadat to touch off a widespread revolt. It did not. There were some uprisings in upper (south) Egypt but nothing serious.
The next day my deputy went over to the Egyptian Ministry of defense to offer our condolences. The response was a bit shocking. The O-6 replying said …”Well it is unfortunate it happened this way but in Egypt the only way we get rid of our rulers is to kill them.”
I do hope that some day Sadat gets the admiration from the Egyptians he deserves. He basically cleaned up the mess left by Nasser, who of course is still venerated as the great Arab Saladin all over the Arab world. In the photo to the right I am circled in my shirt sleeves having given my jacket to Terry because she had a big footprint of her blouse

people climbing over the wall trying to find Sadat under a jumble of bodies and folding chairs

people climbing over the wall trying to find Sadat under a jumble of bodies and folding chairs

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About Tex

Retired artillery colonel, many years in a number of positions in the Arab world. Graduate of the US Military Academy and the American University of Beirut. MA in Arab studies from the American University in Beirut along with 18 years as Middle East Seminar Director at the JFK Special Warfare Center and School, Served in Vietnam with 1st Inf Division, Assignments in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt, plus service with Trucial Oman Scouts in the Persian Gulf. Traveled to every Arab country on the map including Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
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