Last Updated on January 16, 2023 by Ben Oakley
1. Lord Louis Mountbatten
On 27th August 1979, in Ireland, the Admiral of the Fleet, and second cousin to Queen Elizabeth II, Lord Louis Mountbatten, was assassinated by the Provisional IRA.
Lord Mountbatten was a Royal Navy Officer who acted as the Supreme Allied Commander during World War Two, he was also the last Viceroy of India. At one point during his extensive career, he was chairman of the NATO Military Committee.
Mountbatten, his grandson and two others, were killed by a bomb that had been hidden inside his fishing boat, which was moored at Mullaghmore, County Sligo.
It was the second attempt by the IRA to kill him, after a failed sniper attempt a year earlier.
2. Raymond Lee Washington
On 9th August 1979, in Los Angeles, the founder of the infamous Crips gang, Raymond Lee Washington, was assassinated in a drive-by shooting. He had just been released from prison, after serving five years for robbery.
Washington had founded the Crips as a minor street gang in the 1960s. By 1971 the Crips became the first major African American street gang in Los Angeles.
3. Father Alirio Napoleón Macías
On 4th August 1979, in El Salvador, a third Roman Catholic priest is assassinated, after two previous assassinations on January 20th and June 20th 1979. Father Alirio Napoleón Macías was murdered by an unknown assassin.
He was killed because the Catholic Church in the country had sought a military dictatorship, which would mean human rights for their poor masses.
All the priest’s murders were considered to be part of a sustained attack on the Catholic Church. The culprits involved in all three assassinations have never been identified or caught.
4. Stjepan Đureković
On 28th July 1983, in Wolfratshausen, West Germany, 56-year-old Croatian political dissident and businessman Stjepan Đureković was assassinated.
He was shot dead by gunmen belonging to the Yugoslavian State Security Administration (UDBA). Đureković had recently defected to West Germany and was granted political asylum.
He began associating with Croatian nationalist groups that were active in the country and it became the reason why he was killed by the government of Yugoslavia.
Two of the people involved in his murder, Josip Perković, and Zdravko Mustač, were found guilty in 2016 and sentenced to life in prison.
It had taken so long due to the extradition laws between the two countries and influence from high-ranking officials.
5. Rocco Chinnici
On 29th July 1983, in Palermo, 58-year-old anti-Mafia magistrate Rocco Chinnici, was assassinated by the Sicilian Mafia. He had taken over the work of Chief Prosecutor Gaetano Costa who had been assassinated by the Mafia on 6th August 1980.
Chinnici was killed in a car bomb explosion, which also killed two of his bodyguards, Mario Trapassi and Salvatore Bartolotta, and the concierge of his apartment block, Filippo Li Sacchi.
The bomb was detonated by notorious Mafia assassin Pino Greco, who had carried out the assassination on the orders of his uncle Michele Greco.
In 2002, 12 members of the Mafia were sentenced to life imprisonment for ordering the murder.
6. Joe Gqabi
On 31st July 1981, in Harare, Zimbabwe, African National Congress representative and former member of the Umkhonto we Sizwe, Joe Gqabi, was assassinated as he backed out of his driveway.
Gqabi was one of the Pretoria Twelve, and part of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM), which was a grassroots anti-Apartheid activist movement that emerged in South Africa in the mid-1960s.
It was suspected he was killed due to his involvement with the group. In February 2010, the Ukhahlamba District Municipality changed its name in recognition of Gqabi.
It is now known as the Joe Gqabi District Municipality.
7. Mohammad Hossein Beheshti
On 28th June 1981, in Iran, philosopher, cleric, and politician Mohammad Hossein Beheshti was assassinated in the Hafte tir bombing.
A bomb exploded during a party conference and Beheshti was killed instantly, along with other ministers and officials. People’s Mujahedin of Iran member, Mohammad Reza Kolahi, had been responsible for the attack.
A commemoration ceremony is organised each year on the day of Beheshti’s assassination.
Beheshti was considered to have been the primary architect of Iran’s post-revolution constitution, as well as the administrative structure of the Islamic Republic.
8. Ahmed al-Ghashmi
On 24th June 1978, Yemen Arab Republic President Ahmed al-Ghashmi was assassinated. It happened when he was meeting an envoy of the People’s Democratic Republic.
They had a briefcase, reportedly containing a secret message but it exploded, killing both al-Ghashmi and the envoy. The assassination remains unsolved.
9. Cosma Spessotto
On 14th June 1980, in La Paz, El Salvador, 57-year-old Italian Roman Catholic priest and member of the Order of Friars Minor, Cosma Spessotto, was shot dead in an assassination.
He had been in El Salvador since the 1950s, where he aided in the construction of churches in the country. Spessotto was known for speaking out against the Revolutionary Government Junta of El Salvador which caused him to receive constant death threats.
In the early hours of the morning, as he was preparing Mass in his own church, he was shot in the head at point blank range. No suspect has ever been arrested.
On 26th May 2020, Pope Francis approved Spessotto’s beatification, which is the first step towards canonisation.
10. Antoine Frangieh
On 13th June 1978, in Lebanon, politician and military commander Antoine Frangieh was assassinated during the Ehden Massacre.
In the evening, a 1,200 strong militia attacked Frangieh’s residence and killed him and his entire family. They killed him because it eliminated one of the protagonists vying for political power in the Christian Lebanese community.
The Ehden Massacre was a turning point in Lebanese Civil War and ended the lives of at least 40 people.
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