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Russian envoy assassinated: A history of diplomats who have been targeted

Killing of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov in Ankara on Monday serves as a grim reminder that other diplomats and dignitaries have been frequently targeted.

world Updated: Dec 20, 2016 10:14 IST
AP
Andrei Karlov, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, speaks at a photo exhibition in Ankara on Dec 19 moments before a gunman opened fire on him.
Andrei Karlov, the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, speaks at a photo exhibition in Ankara on Dec 19 moments before a gunman opened fire on him.(AP Photo)

The assassinations of top world leaders, like US President John F Kennedy and Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, may be better remembered, but the killing of Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov in Ankara on Monday serves as a grim reminder that diplomats and others representing their countries away from home are also frequently targeted. These are just some examples:

1914, Sarajevo: Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The heir to the Austrian throne. He was shot and killed by a Serbian independence group while riding in an open-top car in an incident widely seen as a catalyst leading to the start of World War I.

1918, Moscow: Wilhelm von Mirbach. German ambassador to Russia. Von Mirbach was shot and killed by members of the Left Socialist Revolutionary Party in an attack widely thought to have been a failed attempt to incite a war between Germany and newly-formed Soviet Russia.

1973, Khartoum: Cleo A Noel, Jr. US Ambassador to Sudan. Captured by the Black September militant group while attending an event at the Saudi Arabian embassy in Khartoum, Sudan, then killed.

1979, County Sligo, Ireland: Lord Louis Mountbatten. The last viceroy of India was killed in 1979 in an Irish Republican Army bombing while on holiday. Mountbatten was one of four people killed when the IRA bomb exploded on his yacht soon after it left Mullaghmore Harbor in western Ireland.

1979, The Hague: Richard Sykes. The British Ambassador to the Netherlands. Sykes was shot and killed outside his residence in The Hague. The Irish Republican Army later claimed responsibility.

1982, Ottawa: Atilla Altikat. Turkish military attache to Canada. Altikat’s car was ambushed by an Armenian militant group, who fired into it when it was stopped for a red light.

2012, Benghazi: Christopher Stevens. US Ambassador to Libya. Stevens and three others were killed when militants attacked the US Special mission in Benghazi. In the aftermath of the attacks, Republicans criticized the Obama administration and its then-secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, but a two-year investigation found the CIA and military acted properly in its response.

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