The Info List - Assassination

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In English law Voluntary manslaughter Negligent homicide Vehicular homicide

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By victim or victims



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Blood libel Capital punishment Crucifixion Democide Friendly fire Gendercide Genocide Omnicide Regicide Stoning Tyrannicide War

v t e

is the killing of a prominent person, either for political or religious reasons or for payment.[1] An assassination may be prompted by religious, political, or military motives; it is an act that may be done for financial gain, to avenge a grievance, from a desire to acquire fame or notoriety, or because of a military, security or insurgent group's command to carry out the homicide.


1 Etymology 2 Use in history

2.1 Ancient to medieval times 2.2 Modern history 2.3 Cold War
and beyond

3 Further motivations

3.1 As military and foreign policy doctrine 3.2 As tool of insurgents

4 Psychology 5 Techniques

5.1 Modern methods

6 Targeted killing 7 Counter-measures

7.1 Early forms 7.2 Modern strategies

8 See also 9 Notes and references 10 Further reading 11 External links

Etymology[edit] Main article: Hashshashin

The word "assassin" was derived from Hasan-i Sabbah
Hasan-i Sabbah
and his Assassin's Order of Nizari

The word assassin is often believed to derive from the word Hashshashin
(Arabic: حشّاشين, ħashshāshīyīn, also Hashishin, Hashashiyyin, or Assassins),[2] and shares its etymological roots with hashish (/hæˈʃiːʃ/ or /ˈhæʃiːʃ/; from Arabic: حشيش ḥashīsh).[3] It referred to a group of Nizari
Shia Persians who worked against various Arab and Persian targets. Founded by the Persian Hassan-i Sabbah, the Assassins
were active in the fortress of Alamut
in Iran from the 8th to the 14th centuries, and also controlled the castle of Masyaf
in Syria. The group killed members of the Persian, Abbasid, Seljuq, and Christian
Crusader elite for political and religious reasons.[4] Although it is commonly believed that Assassins
were under the influence of hashish during their killings or during their indoctrination, there is debate as to whether these claims have merit, with many Eastern writers and an increasing number of Western academics coming to believe that drug-taking was not the key feature behind the name.[5] The earliest known use of the verb "to assassinate" in printed English was by Matthew Sutcliffe in A Briefe Replie to a Certaine Odious and Slanderous Libel, Lately Published by a Seditious Jesuite, a pamphlet printed in 1600, five years before it was used in Macbeth
by William Shakespeare (1605).[6][7]

Use in history[edit] Main article: History of assassination

of Julius Caesar

Ancient to medieval times[edit] Assassination
is one of the oldest tools of power politics. It dates back at least as far as recorded history. In the Old Testament, King Joash of Judah was recorded as being assassinated by his own servants;[8] Joab
assassinated Absalom, King David's son;[9] and King Sennacherib
of Assyria was assassinated by his own sons.[10] Chanakya
(c. 350–283 BC) wrote about assassinations in detail in his political treatise Arthashastra. His student Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of the Maurya Empire, later made use of assassinations against some of his enemies, including two of Alexander the Great's generals, Nicanor and Philip.[11] Other famous victims are Philip II of Macedon (336 BC), the father of Alexander the Great, and Roman consul Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
(44 BC).[12] Emperors of Rome
Emperors of Rome
often met their end in this way, as did many of the Muslim Shia
Imams hundreds of years later. The practice was also well known in ancient China, as in Jing Ke's failed assassination of Qin king Ying Zheng in 227 BC. Whilst many assassination were performed by an individual or a small group, there were also specialized units who used a collective group of people to perform more than one assassination. The earliest were the sicarii in 6 A.D., who predated the Middle Eastern assassins and Japanese ninjas by centuries.[13][14]

of King Przemysł II
Przemysł II
of Poland

of King Henry III of France

In the Middle Ages, regicide was rare in Western Europe, but it was a recurring theme in the Eastern Roman Empire. Blinding and strangling in the bathtub were the most commonly used procedures. With the Renaissance, tyrannicide—or assassination for personal or political reasons—became more common again in Western Europe. High medieval sources mention the assassination of King Demetrius Zvonimir (1089), dying at the hands of his own people, who objected to a proposition by the Pope to go on a campaign to aid the Byzantines against the Seljuk Turks. This account is, however, contentious among historians, it being most commonly asserted that he died of natural causes. The myth of the "Curse of King Zvonimir" is based on the legend of his assassination.[15] In 1192, Conrad of Montferrat, the de facto King of Jerusalem, was killed by an assassin. The reigns of King Przemysł II
Przemysł II
of Poland (1296), William the Silent of the Netherlands (1584), and the French kings Henry III (1589) and Henry IV (1610) were all ended by assassins. Modern history[edit] In the modern world, the killing of important people began to become more than a tool in power struggles between rulers themselves and was also used for political symbolism, such as in the propaganda of the deed. In Russia alone, two emperors, Paul I and his grandson Alexander II, were assassinated within 80 years. In the United Kingdom, only one Prime Minister has ever been assassinated—Spencer Perceval on May 11, 1812.[16] In Japan, a group of assassins called the Four Hitokiri of the Bakumatsu killed a number of people, including Ii Naosuke
Ii Naosuke
who was the head of administration for the Tokugawa shogunate, during the Boshin War.[17] Most of the assassinations in Japan were committed with bladed weaponry, a trait that was carried on into modern history as seen during the assassination of Inejiro Asanuma
Inejiro Asanuma
on live television using a sword.[18]

Shown in the presidential booth of Ford's Theatre, from left to right, are assassin John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln, Clara Harris, and Henry Rathbone

In the United States, within 100 years, four presidents—Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy—died at the hands of assassins. There have been at least 20 known attempts on U.S. presidents' lives. Huey Long, a Senator, was assassinated in September 1935. Robert Kennedy, a Senator and a presidential candidate, was also assassinated in June 1968 in the US. In Austria, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 was carried out by Gavrilo Princip, a Serbian national and a member of the Serbian nationalist insurgents (The Black Hand) is blamed for igniting World War
I after a succession of minor conflicts, while belligerents on both sides in World War
II used operatives specifically trained for assassination. Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Heydrich
died after an attack by British-trained Czechoslovak soldiers on behalf of the Czechoslovak government in exile in Operation Anthropoid,[19] and knowledge from decoded transmissions allowed the U.S. to carry out a targeted attack, killing Japanese Admiral
Isoroku Yamamoto
Isoroku Yamamoto
while he was travelling by plane. The Polish Home Army conducted a regular campaign of assassinations against top Nazi German officials in occupied Poland. Adolf Hitler, meanwhile, was almost killed by his own officers, and survived various attempts by other persons and organizations (such as Operation Foxley, though this plan was never put into practice). During the 1930s and 1940s Joseph Stalin's NKVD
carried out numerous assassinations outside of the Soviet Union, such as the killings of Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists
Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists
leader Yevhen Konovalets, Ignace Poretsky, Fourth International
Fourth International
secretary Rudolf Klement, Leon Trotsky, and the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) leadership in Catalonia.[20] India's "Father of the Nation," Mahatma Gandhi, was shot to death on January 30, 1948, by Nathuram Godse. The American civil rights activist, Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
was assassinated on April 4, 1968, at the Lorraine Motel (now the National Civil Rights Museum) in Memphis, Tennessee. Three years prior, another civil African-American civil rights activist, Malcolm X, was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom
Audubon Ballroom
on February 21, 1965. Fred Hampton of the Black Panther Party
Black Panther Party
was assassinated on December 4, 1969. Cold War
and beyond[edit] See also: Cold War
and War
on Terror

President Kennedy minutes before his assassination, November 22, 1963.

Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, was assassinated by Saad Akbar, a lone assassin, in 1951. Conspiracy theorists believe his conflict with certain members of the Pakistani military (Rawalpindi conspiracy) or suppression of Communists and antagonism towards the Soviet Union, were potential reasons for his assassination. In 1960, Inejiro Asanuma, Chairman of the Japanese Socialist Party, was assassinated in a stabbing by an extreme rightist. The U.S. Senate Select Committee chaired by Senator Frank Church
Frank Church
(the Church Committee) reported in 1975 that it had found "concrete evidence of at least eight plots involving the CIA
to assassinate Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
from 1960 to 1965."[21] Most major powers repudiated Cold War
assassination tactics, though many allege that this was merely a smokescreen for political benefit and that covert and illegal training of assassins continues today, with Russia, Israel, the U.S., Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, and other nations accused of engaging in such operations.[22] In 1986, U.S. President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
(who survived an assassination attempt himself) ordered the Operation El Dorado Canyon
Operation El Dorado Canyon
air raid on Libya in which one of the primary targets was the home residence of Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Gaddafi escaped unharmed; however, his adopted daughter Hanna was claimed to be one of the civilian casualties. In the Philippines, the assassination of Benigno Aquino, Jr.
Benigno Aquino, Jr.
triggered the eventual downfall of the 20-year autocratic rule of President Ferdinand Marcos. Aquino, a former Senator and a leading figure of the political opposition, was assassinated in 1983 at the Manila International Airport
International Airport
(now the Ninoy Aquino International Airport) upon returning home from exile. His death thrust his widow, Corazon Aquino, into the limelight and, ultimately, the presidency following the peaceful 1986 EDSA Revolution. After the Iranian Revolution
Iranian Revolution
of 1979, the new Islamic government of Iran began an international campaign of assassination that lasted into the 1990s. At least 162 killings in 19 countries have been linked to the senior leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran.[23] This campaign came to an end after the Mykonos restaurant assassinations, because a German court publicly implicated senior members of the government and issued arrest warrants for Ali Fallahian, the head of the Iranian Intelligence.[24] Evidence indicates that Fallahian's personal involvement and individual responsibility for the murders were far more pervasive than his current indictment record represents.[25]

Orlando Letelier, a former Chilean minister, was assassinated in Washington, D.C. in 1976. Letelier's murder was part of the CIA-backed state terror campaign known as Operation Condor.

Anwar Sadat, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt (formerly President of the United Arab Republic), was assassinated October 6, 1981, during the annual parade celebrating Operation Badr, the opening maneuver of the Yom Kippur War. Swedish prime minister Olof Palme
Olof Palme
was murdered by a gun-wielding man close to midnight on February 28, 1986, after having visited a cinema with his wife. The couple were not accompanied by a body guard detail. The identity of the assassin and the reason for the murder are still unknown. On August 17, 1988, President of Pakistan
Gen. M. Zia ul Haq
Zia ul Haq
died alongside 31 others including the Chief of Staff of the Pakistani Armed Forces, the US Ambassador to Pakistan
and the chief of the US Military Mission to Pakistan
when his C-130
transport plane mysteriously crashed. The crash is widely considered – in Pakistan – to be an act of political assassination.[26] In post-Saddam Iraq, the Shiite-dominated government used death squads to perform extrajudicial executions of radical Sunni
Iraqis, with some alleging that the death squads were trained by the U.S.[27][28] Concrete allegations have since surfaced that the Iranian government has actively armed and funded Shia
death-squads in post-Saddam Iraq.[29]

Indira Gandhi's blood-stained sari and belongings at the time of her assassination. She was the Prime Minister of India.

In India, Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi
and her son Rajiv Gandhi (neither of whom were related to Mahatma Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1948), were assassinated in 1984 and 1991 respectively. The assassinations were linked to separatist movements in Punjab and northern Sri Lanka, respectively. In Israel, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin
Yitzhak Rabin
was assassinated on November 4, 1995. Yigal Amir
Yigal Amir
confessed and was convicted of the crime. Israeli tourist minister Rehavam Ze'evi
Rehavam Ze'evi
was assassinated on October 17, 2001, by Hamdi Quran and three other members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). The PFLP stated that the assassination was in retaliation for the August 27, 2001, killing of Abu Ali Mustafa, the Secretary General of the PFLP, by the Israeli Air Force under its policy of targeted killings. In Lebanon, the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri
Rafik Hariri
on February 14, 2005, prompted an investigation by the United Nations. The suggestion in the resulting Mehlis report that there was Syrian involvement, prompted the Cedar Revolution, which drove Syrian troops out of Lebanon. In Pakistan, former prime minister and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in 2007, while running for re-election. Bhutto's assassination drew unanimous condemnation from the international community.[30] In Guinea Bissau, President João Bernardo Vieira
João Bernardo Vieira
was assassinated in the early hours of March 2, 2009, in the capital, Bissau. Unlike typical assassinations his death was not swift; he first survived an explosion at the Presidential Villa, was then shot and wounded, and finally was butchered with machetes. His assassination was carried out by renegade soldiers who were apparently revenging the killing of General Tagme Na Waie, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Guinea Bissau, who had been killed in a bomb explosion the day before.

Further motivations[edit] As military and foreign policy doctrine[edit] See also: Manhunt (military)

The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage and assassination.

for military purposes has long been espoused – Sun Tzu, writing around 500 BC, argued in favor of using assassination in his book The Art of War. Nearly 2000 years later, in his book The Prince, Machiavelli also argued assassination could be useful.[citation needed] An army and even a nation might be based upon and around a particularly strong, canny, or charismatic leader, whose loss could paralyze the ability of both to make war. For similar and additional reasons, assassination has also sometimes been used in the conduct of foreign policy. The costs and benefits of such actions are difficult to compute, especially when they depend upon the policies of a successor, and one study has found that perceptual biases held by leaders often negatively affect decision making in this area, such that decisions made to go forward with assassinations often reflect the vague hope that any successor might be better.[31] In both military and foreign policy assassinations, there is the risk that the target could be replaced by an even more competent leader, or that such a killing (or a failed attempt) will "martyr" a leader and lead to greater support of his or her cause (by showing the moral ruthlessness of the assassins). Faced with particularly brilliant leaders, this possibility has in various instances been risked, such as in the attempts to kill the Athenian Alcibiades
during the Peloponnesian War. A number of additional examples from World War
II show how assassination was used as a tool:

The assassination of Reinhard Heydrich
Reinhard Heydrich
in Prague on May 27, 1942 by the British and Czechoslovak government-in-exile. This case illustrates the difficulty of comparing the benefits of a foreign policy goal (strengthening the legitimacy and influence of the Czechoslovak government-in-exile
Czechoslovak government-in-exile
in London) against the possible costs resulting from an assassination (the Lidice massacre).[31] The American interception of Admiral
Isoroku Yamamoto's plane during World War
II, after his travel route had been decrypted. Operation Gaff
Operation Gaff
was a planned British commando raid to capture or kill the German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
Erwin Rommel
(also known as "The Desert Fox").[32]

Use of assassination has continued in more recent conflicts:

During the Vietnam War, partly in response to Viet Cong
Viet Cong
assassinations of government leaders, the U.S. engaged in the Phoenix Program
Phoenix Program
to assassinate Viet Cong
Viet Cong
leaders and sympathizers, and killed between 6,000 and 41,000 people, with official 'targets' of 1,800 per month.[citation needed]

As tool of insurgents[edit] Insurgent groups have often employed assassination as a tool to further their causes. Assassinations provide several functions for such groups, namely the removal of specific enemies and as propaganda tools to focus the attention of media and politics on their cause. The Irish Republican Army guerrillas of 1919–21 killed many RIC Police Intelligence officers during the Irish War
of Independence. Michael Collins set up a special unit – the Squad – for this purpose, which had the effect of intimidating many policemen into resigning from the force. The Squad's activities peaked with the killing of 14 British agents in Dublin
on Bloody Sunday in 1920. This tactic was used again by the Provisional IRA
Provisional IRA
during the Troubles in Northern Ireland (1969–1998). Killing of RUC officers and assassination of RUC politicians was one of a number of methods used in the Provisional IRA
Provisional IRA
campaign 1969–1997. The IRA also attempted to assassinate British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
by bombing the Conservative Party Conference in a Brighton
hotel. Loyalist paramilitaries retaliated by killing Catholics at random and assassinating Irish nationalist
Irish nationalist
politicians. Basque terrorists ETA in Spain have assassinated many security and political figures since the late 1960s, notably Luis Carrero Blanco, 1st Duke of Carrero-Blanco Grandee of Spain, in 1973. Since the early 1990s, they have also targeted academics, journalists and local politicians who publicly disagreed with them. The Red Brigades
Red Brigades
in Italy carried out assassinations of political figures, as to a lesser extent, did the Red Army Faction
Red Army Faction
in Germany in the 1970s and 1980s. In the Vietnam War, Communist insurgents routinely assassinated government officials and individual civilians deemed to offend or rival the revolutionary movement. Such attacks, along with widespread military activity by insurgent bands, almost brought the Diem regime to collapse before the U.S. intervention.[33] Psychology[edit] A major study about assassination attempts in the U.S. in the second half of the 20th century came to the conclusion that most prospective assassins spend copious amounts of time planning and preparing for their attempts. Assassinations are thus rarely a case of 'impulsive' action.[34] However, about 25% of the actual attackers were found to be delusional, a figure that rose to 60% with 'near-lethal approachers' (people apprehended before reaching their target). This shows that while mental instability plays a role in many modern-age assassinations, the more delusional attackers are less likely to succeed in their attempt. The report also found that around two-thirds of attackers had previously been arrested (not necessarily for related offenses), that 44% had a history of serious depression, and that 39% had a history of substance abuse.[34] Techniques[edit] Modern methods[edit] With the advent of effective ranged weaponry, and later firearms, the position of an assassination target was more precarious. Bodyguards were no longer enough to hold back determined killers, who no longer needed to directly engage or even subvert the guard to kill the leader in question. Moreover, the engagement of targets at greater distance dramatically increased the chances of an assassin's survival. The first heads of government to be assassinated with a firearm were the Regent Moray of Scotland in 1570, and William the Silent, the Prince of Orange of the Netherlands in 1584. Gunpowder
and other explosives also allowed the use of bombs or even greater concentrations of explosives for deeds requiring a larger touch. Explosives, especially the car bomb, become far more common in modern history, with grenades and remote-triggered land mines also used, especially in the Middle East and Balkans (the initial attempt on Archduke Franz Ferdinand's life was with a grenade). With heavy weapons, the rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) has become a useful tool given the popularity of armored cars (discussed below), while Israeli forces have pioneered the use of aircraft-mounted missiles,[35] as well as the innovative use of explosive devices.

Rifle of Lee Harvey Oswald, the assassin of President John F. Kennedy

of John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln

A sniper with a precision rifle is often used in fictional assassinations. However, certain difficulties attend long-range shooting, including finding a hidden shooting position with a clear line-of-sight, detailed advance knowledge of the intended victim's travel plans, the ability to identify the target at long range, and the ability to score a first-round lethal hit at long range, usually measured in hundreds of meters. A dedicated sniper rifle is also expensive, often costing thousands of dollars because of the high level of precision machining and hand-finishing required to achieve extreme accuracy.[36] Despite their comparative disadvantages, handguns are more easily concealable, and consequentially much more commonly used than rifles. Of 74 principal incidents evaluated in a major study about assassination attempts in the U.S. in the second half of the 20th century, 51% were undertaken by a handgun, 30% with a rifle or shotgun, 15% used knives, and 8% explosives (usage of multiple weapons/methods was reported in 16% of all cases).[34] In the case of state-sponsored assassination, poisoning can be more easily denied. Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian dissident was assassinated by ricin poisoning. A tiny pellet containing the poison was injected into his leg through a specially designed umbrella. Widespread allegations involving the Bulgarian government and KGB
have not led to any legal results. However, after the fall of the USSR, it was learned that the KGB
had developed an umbrella that could inject ricin pellets into a victim, and two former KGB
agents who defected said the agency assisted in the murder.[37] The CIA
made several attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro, many of the schemes involving poisoning his cigars. In the late 1950s, KGB
assassin Bohdan Stashynsky killed Ukrainian nationalist leaders Lev Rebet
Lev Rebet
and Stepan Bandera
Stepan Bandera
with a spray gun that fired a jet of poison gas from a crushed cyanide ampule, making their deaths look like heart attacks.[38] A 2006 case in the UK concerned the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko who was given a lethal dose of radioactive polonium-210, possibly passed to him in aerosol form sprayed directly onto his food. Litvinenko, a former KGB
agent, had been granted asylum in the UK in 2000 after citing persecution in Russia. Shortly before his death he issued a statement accusing President of Russia
President of Russia
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
of involvement in his assassination. President Putin denies he had any part in Litvinenko's death.[39] Targeted killing[edit] Main article: Targeted killing

Predator drone; sometimes used in targeted killings

Targeted killing
Targeted killing
is the intentional killing–by a government or its agents–of a civilian or "unlawful combatant" who is not in the government's custody. The target is a person asserted to be taking part in an armed conflict or terrorism, whether by bearing arms or otherwise, who has thereby lost the immunity from being targeted that he would otherwise have under the Third Geneva Convention.[40] Note that this is a different term and concept from that of "targeted violence" as used by specialists who study violence. On the other hand, Georgetown Law Professor Gary Solis, in his 2010 book entitled The Law of Armed Conflict: International Humanitarian Law in War,[41] writes: "Assassinations and targeted killings are very different acts".[40] The use of the term assassination is opposed, as it denotes murder, whereas the terrorists are targeted in self-defense, and thus it is viewed as a killing, but not a crime.[42] Judge Abraham Sofaer, former federal judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, wrote on the subject:

When people call a targeted killing an "assassination," they are attempting to preclude debate on the merits of the action. Assassination
is widely defined as murder, and is for that reason prohibited in the United States ... U.S. officials may not kill people merely because their policies are seen as detrimental to our interests ... But killings in self-defense are no more "assassinations" in international affairs than they are murders when undertaken by our police forces against domestic killers. Targeted killings in self-defense have been authoritatively determined by the federal government to fall outside the assassination prohibition.[43]

Author and former U.S. Army Captain Matthew J. Morgan has argued that "there is a major difference between assassination and targeted killing ... targeted killing [is] not synonymous with assassination. Assassination ... constitutes an illegal killing."[44] Similarly, Amos Guiora, professor of law at the University of Utah, writes: " Targeted killing
Targeted killing
is ... not an assassination", Steve David, Professor of International Relations at Johns Hopkins University, writes: "There are strong reasons to believe that the Israeli policy of targeted killing is not the same as assassination". Syracuse Law Professor William Banks and GW Law Professor Peter Raven-Hansen write: " Targeted killing
Targeted killing
of terrorists is ... not unlawful and would not constitute assassination", Rory Miller writes: "Targeted killing ... is not 'assassination'". Associate Professor Eric Patterson and Teresa Casale write: "Perhaps most important is the legal distinction between targeted killing and assassination".[45][46][47][47][48] On the other hand, the American Civil Liberties Union also states on its website, "A program of targeted killing far from any battlefield, without charge or trial, violates the constitutional guarantee of due process. It also violates international law, under which lethal force may be used outside armed conflict zones only as a last resort to prevent imminent threats, when non-lethal means are not available. Targeting people who are suspected of terrorism for execution, far from any war zone, turns the whole world into a battlefield."[49] Yael Stein, the research director of B'Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, also states in her article "By Any Name Illegal and Immoral: Response to 'Israel's Policy of Targeted Killing'":[50]

The argument that this policy affords the public a sense of revenge and retribution could serve to justify acts both illegal and immoral. Clearly, lawbreakers ought to be punished. Yet, no matter how horrific their deeds, as the targeting of Israeli civilians indeed is, they should be punished according to the law. David's arguments could, in principle, justify the abolition of formal legal systems altogether.

Targeted killing
Targeted killing
has become a frequent tactic of the United States
United States
and Israel
in their fight against terrorism.[40][51] The tactic can raise complex questions and lead to contentious disputes as to the legal basis for its application, who qualifies as an appropriate "hit list" target, and what circumstances must exist before the tactic may be employed.[40] Opinions range from people considering it a legal form of self-defense that reduces terrorism, to people calling it an extra-judicial killing that lacks due process, and which leads to further violence.[40][43][52][53] Methods used have included firing a five-foot-long Hellfire missile
Hellfire missile
from a Predator or Reaper drone (an unmanned, remote-controlled plane), detonating a cell phone bomb, and long-range sniper shooting. Countries such as the U.S. (in Pakistan and Yemen) and Israel
(in the West Bank and Gaza) have used targeted killing to eliminate members of groups such as Al-Qaeda
and Hamas.[40] In early 2010, with President Obama's approval, Anwar al-Awlaki
Anwar al-Awlaki
became the first U.S. citizen to be publicly approved for targeted killing by the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA). Awlaki was killed in a drone strike in September 2011.[54][55] United Nations
United Nations
(UN) investigator Ben Emmerson
Ben Emmerson
said that U.S. drone strikes may have violated international humanitarian law.[56][57] The Intercept reported, "Between January 2012 and February 2013, U.S. special operations airstrikes [in northeastern Afghanistan] killed more than 200 people. Of those, only 35 were the intended targets."[58] Counter-measures[edit] Early forms[edit]

This bodyguard was killed by an IED during Sheik Abdul Sattar Abu Risha's assassination in 2007

One of the earliest forms of defense against assassins was employing bodyguards. Bodyguards act as a shield for the potential target, keeping lookout for potential attackers (sometimes in advance, for example on a parade route), and putting themselves in harm's way—both by simple presence, showing that physical force is available to protect the target,[34][59] and by shielding the target during any attack. To neutralize an attacker, bodyguards are typically armed as much as legal and practical concerns permit. Notable examples of bodyguards include the Roman Praetorian Guard
Praetorian Guard
or the Ottoman Janissaries—though, in both cases, the protectors sometimes became assassins themselves, exploiting their power to make the head of state a virtual hostage or killing the very leaders they were supposed to protect. The fidelity of individual bodyguards is an important question as well, especially for leaders who oversee states with strong ethnic or religious divisions. Failure to realize such divided loyalties led to the assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, assassinated by two Sikh
bodyguards in 1984. This bodyguard function was often executed by the leader's most loyal warriors, and was extremely effective throughout most of early human history, leading assassins to attempt stealthy means, such as poison (which risk was answered by having another person taste the leader's food first). Another notable measure is the use of a body double, a person who looks like the leader and who pretends to be the leader to draw attention away from the intended target. Modern strategies[edit]

attempt on President Ronald Reagan

With the advent of gunpowder, ranged assassination (via bombs or firearms) became possible. One of the first reactions was to simply increase the guard, creating what at times might seem a small army trailing every leader; another was to begin clearing large areas whenever a leader was present, to the point where entire sections of a city might be shut down. As the 20th century dawned, the prevalence and capability of assassins grew quickly, as did measures to protect against them. For the first time, armored cars or limousines were put into service for safer transport, with modern versions virtually invulnerable to small arms fire, smaller bombs and mines.[60] Bulletproof vests also began to be used, which were of limited utility, restricting movement and leaving the head unprotected – so they tended to be worn only during high-profile public events, if at all. Access to famous persons, too, became more and more restricted;[61] potential visitors would be forced through numerous different checks before being granted access to the official in question, and as communication became better and information technology more prevalent, it has become all but impossible for a would-be killer to get close enough to the personage at work or in private life to effect an attempt on his or her life, especially given the common use of metal and bomb detectors. Most modern assassinations have been committed either during a public performance or during transport, both because of weaker security and security lapses, such as with U.S. President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
and former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, or as part of coups d'état where security is either overwhelmed or completely removed, such as with Patrice Lumumba.

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
in a modified Mercedes-Benz M-Class
Mercedes-Benz M-Class
in São Paulo, Brazil

The methods used for protection by famous people have sometimes evoked negative reactions by the public, with some resenting the separation from their officials or major figures. One example might be traveling in a car protected by a bubble of clear bulletproof glass, such as the Popemobile
of Pope John Paul II, built following an attempt at his life. Politicians often resent this need for separation, sometimes sending their bodyguards away from them for personal or publicity reasons; U.S. President William McKinley
William McKinley
did this at the public reception where he was assassinated.[61] Other potential targets go into seclusion, and are rarely heard from or seen in public, such as writer Salman Rushdie. A related form of protection is the use of body doubles, people with similar builds to those they are expected to impersonate. These persons are then made up, and in some cases altered to look like the target, with the body double then taking the place of the person in high risk situations. According to Joe R. Reeder, Under Secretary of the Army from 1993 to 1997, Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
used body doubles.[62] United States
United States
Secret Service protective agents receive training in the psychology of assassins.[63] See also[edit]

Assassinations in fiction Contract killing History of assassination List of assassinations List of people who survived assassination attempts List of assassinated and executed heads of state and government List of United States presidential assassination attempts
List of United States presidential assassination attempts
and plots Special Activities Division
Special Activities Division
of the Central Intelligence Agency Firearms by assassination

Notes and references[edit]

^ Black's Law Dictionary "the act of deliberately killing someone especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons" (Legal Research, Analysis and Writing by William H. Putman p. 215 and Assassination
Policy Under International Law Archived December 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine., Harvard International Review, May 6, 2006 by Kristen Eichensehr). ^ American Speech – McCarthy, Kevin M. Volume 48, pp. 77–83 ^ The Assassins: a radical sect in Islam – Bernard Lewis, pp. 11–12 ^ Secret Societies Handbook, Michael Bradley, Altair Cassell Illustrated, 2005. ISBN 978-1-84403-416-1 ^ Martin Booth (2004). Cannabis: A History. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-312-42494-7.  ^ A briefe replie to a certaine odious and slanderous libel, lately published by a seditious Iesuite. Imprinted at London : By Arn. Hatfield, 1600 (STC 23453) p.103 ^ "assassinate, v." OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2016. Web. August 11, 2016. ^ 2 Kings 12:19-21 ^ 2 Samuel 3:26-28 RSV ^ 2 Chronicles 32:21 ^ Boesche, Roger (January 2003). "Kautilya's Arthaśāstra on War
and Diplomacy in Ancient India" (PDF). The Journal of Military History. 67 (1): 9–37. doi:10.1353/jmh.2003.0006.  ^ Johnson, Francis (March 3, 2008). Famous assassinations of history ... Retrieved October 27, 2010.  ^ Pichtel, John, Terrorism and WMDs: Awareness and Response, CRC Press (April 25, 2011) p.3-4. ISBN 978-1439851753 ^ Ross, Jeffrey Ian, Religion and Violence: An Encyclopedia of Faith and Conflict from Antiquity to the Present, Routledge (January 15, 2011), Chapter: Sicarii. 978-0765620484 ^ "FFZG.hr" (PDF). Retrieved December 29, 2013.  ^ M. Gillen 1972 Assassination
of the Prime Minister: the shocking death of Spencer Perceval. London: Sidgwick & Jackson ISBN 0-283-97881-3. ^ Turnbull, Stephen. The Samurai Swordsman: Master of War. Tuttle Publishing; 1 edition (August 5, 2014). p. 182. ISBN 978-4805312940 ^ Chun, Jayson Makoto (2006). A Nation of a Hundred Million Idiots?: A Social History of Japanese Television, 1953–1973. Routledge. pp. 184–185. ISBN 978-0-415-97660-2. Retrieved March 22, 2014.  ^ Burian, Michal; Aleš (2002). "Assassination — Operation Arthropoid, 1941–1942" (PDF). Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic. Retrieved July 5, 2011.  ^ Michael Ellman. The Role of Leadership Perceptions and of Intent in the Soviet Famine of 1931–1934. Europe-Asia Studies, 2005. p. 826 ^ Church Committee
Church Committee
– Interim Report: Alleged Assassination
Plots Involving Foreign Leaders Part III.B, page 71 (from the 'history-matters.com' website. Retrieved August 22, 2008. ^ John Dingles (2004) The Condor Years ISBN 978-1-56584-764-4 ^ "English front cover – No Safe Haven" (PDF). p. 100. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 2, 2010. Retrieved June 2, 2010.  ^ "Mykonos front cover" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on September 2, 2010. Retrieved May 13, 2010.  ^ "Condemned by Law – Report 11-10-08.doc" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on March 7, 2010. Retrieved May 13, 2010.  ^ Ghosh, Palash (April 27, 2013). "Who Killed General Zia Of Pakistan? Perhaps The Israelis, The US, Moscow". International Business Times. Retrieved April 16, 2015.  ^ "The Salvador Option" – The Pentagon may put Special-Forces-led assassination or kidnapping teams in Iraq
– Newsweek, Friday January 14, 2005 ^ CBS: Death Squads In Iraqi Hospitals – CBS
Evening News, Wednesday October 4, 2006 ^ Iran 'training Shia
death squads' – [Scotsman.com News], March 22, 2007 ^ Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto
shot dead at suicide bombing of rally; 20 feared dead – The Canadian Press, Thursday December 27, 2007 ^ a b Schilling, Warner R.; Schilling, Jonathan L. (Fall 2016). "Decision Making in Using Assassinations in International Relations". Political Science Quarterly. 131 (3): 503–539.  ^ Commando Extraordinary – Foley, Charles; Legion for the Survival of Freedom, 1992, page 155 ^ Viet Cong
Viet Cong
– Pike, Douglas, The MIT Press; New Ed edition, Wednesday December 16, 1970 ^ a b c d Assassination
in the United States: An Operational Study Archived June 20, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. – Fein, Robert A. & Vossekuil, Brian, Journal of Forensic Sciences, Volume 44, Number 2, March 1999 ^ Hamas
leader killed in Israeli airstrike – CNN, Saturday April 17, 2004 ^ Iraqi insurgents using Austrian rifles from Iran – The Daily Telegraph, Tuesday February 13, 2007 ^ The case of the poisoned umbrella. BBC
World Service, 2007. ^ Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin. The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB. Basic Books, 1999. ISBN 978-0-465-00312-9 p. 362 ^ Putin 'Deplores' Spy Death – Sky News
Sky News
Friday November 24, 2006[dead link] ^ a b c d e f Gary D. Solis (2010). The Law of Armed Conflict: International Humanitarian Law in War. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-87088-7. Retrieved May 19, 2010.  ^ The law of armed conflict ... – Gary D. Solis. Google Books. February 15, 2010. ISBN 978-1-139-48711-5. Retrieved December 27, 2011.  ^ Targeted killing
Targeted killing
is a necessary option, Sofaer, Abraham D., Hoover Institution, March 26, 2004 ^ a b Abraham D. Sofaer (March 26, 2004). "Responses to Terrorism / Targeted killing
Targeted killing
is a necessary option". The San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on August 29, 2011. Retrieved May 20, 2010.  ^ Matthew J. Morgan (2009). The Impact of 9–11: The New Legal Landscape. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-60838-2. Retrieved May 29, 2010.  ^ Amos Guiora
Amos Guiora
(2004). "Targeted Killing as Active Self-Defense". 36 Case W. Res. J. Int'l L. 31920. Retrieved May 29, 2010.  ^ Steven R. David (September 2002). "Fatal Choices: Israel's Policy Of Targeted Killing" (PDF). The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 16, 2010. Retrieved May 29, 2010.  ^ a b Rory Miller (2007). Ireland and the Middle East: trade, society and peace. Irish Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-7165-2868-5. Retrieved May 29, 2010.  ^ "Targeted Killing and Assassination: The U.S. Legal Framework", Banks, William C., Raven-Hansen, Peter, 37 U. Rich. L. Rev. 667 (2002–03). Retrieved October 89, 2010. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions About Targeting Killing American Civil Liberties Union". Aclu.org. August 30, 2010. Retrieved August 13, 2012.  ^ http://webarchive.loc.gov/all/20120314201721/http%3A//www%2Ecarnegiecouncil%2Eorg/resources/journal/17_1/debate/860%2Ehtml. Archived from the original on March 14, 2012. Retrieved March 17, 2012.  Missing or empty title= (help) ^ "Q&A: Targeted Killings", Eben Kaplan, The New York Times, January 25, 2006. Retrieved October 8, 2010. ^ Dana Priest (November 8, 2002). "U.S. Citizen Among Those Killed In Yemen Predator Missile Strike". The Tech (MIT); The Washington Post. Retrieved May 19, 2010.  ^ Mohammed Daraghmeh (February 20, 2001). " Hamas
Leader Dies in Apparent Israeli Targeted Killing". Times Daily. Retrieved May 20, 2010.  ^ Greg Miller (January 31, 2010). "U.S. citizen in CIA's cross hairs". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 7, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2010.  ^ Greg Miller (April 7, 2010). "Muslim cleric Aulaqi is 1st U.S. citizen on list of those CIA
is allowed to kill". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 20, 2010.  ^ Drone strikes by US may violate international law, says UN . The Guardian. 18 October 2013. ^ UN report calls for independent investigations of drone attacks. The Guardian. 18 October 2013. ^ "The Assassination
Complex". The Intercept. 15 October 2015. ^ Lincoln – Appendix 7, Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination
of President Kennedy, 1964 ^ How to choose the appropriate bulletproof cars (from Alpha-armouring.com website, includes examples of protection levels available) ^ a b The Need For Protection Further Demonstrated – Appendix 7, Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination
of President Kennedy, 1964 ^ Donaldson-Evans, Catherine (December 20, 2001). "It's Bin Laden ... or Is It?". Fox News.  ^ Pelley, Scott (August 15, 2000). "Mind of the Assassin". CBS 60 Minutes II. Retrieved March 30, 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

Clarke, James W. (2006). Defining Danger: American Assassins
and the New Domestic Terrorists.  Clarke, James W. (January 28, 2011). America's History of Crazy Political Assassins
Didn't Begin with Loughner. History News Network'.  Porter, Lindsay (2010). Assassination: a History of Political Murder. Thames and Hudson.  Review The Daily Telegraph, April 3, 2010. "Section B. Killing, injuring or capturing an adversary by resort to perfidy". Customary IHL: Practice Relating to Rule 65. Perfidy. ICRC. 

"Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 (23.b.)". Yale University. 

External links[edit]

Look up assassination in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Assassination

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Assassination.

has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Assassination.

Assassinology.org a website dedicated to the study of assassination Notorious Assassinations – slideshow by Life magazine CNN
A short article on the U.S. policy banning political assassination since 1976 from CNN.com/Law Center, November 4, 2002. See also Ford's 1976 executive order. However, Executive Order 12333, which prohibited the CIA
from assassinations, was relaxed by the George W. Bush administration. Kretzmer, David "Targeted Killing of Suspected Terrorists: Extra-Judicial Executions or Legitimate Means of Defence?" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 7, 2008.  (PDF) Is the CIA
Order of a US Citizen Legal? – video by Democracy Now!

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