Saturday, December 12, 2009

Top 8 Die-Hards in History (Part 2)

Yasser Arafat: escaped from several bombing attacks and a plane crash

Mohammed Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa Al-Husseini, more commonly known as Yasser Arafat was a Palestinian leader. During his life survived several assassination attempts. In 1985 he narrowly survived an Israeli assassination attempt when Israeli Air Force F-15s bombed his headquarters there as part of Operation Wooden Leg, leaving 73 people dead. Arafat had gone out jogging that morning. He also survived a car write-off and a plane crash in a sandstorm in the Libyan desert on April 7, 1992. Two pilots and an engineer were killed;Arafat was bruised and shaken. He died November 11, 2004, at age 75 in a hospital in Paris.

The cause of death was never announced, and remains a mystery. Conspiratorial suggestions that Israel was somehow involved were quickly rejected by Palestinian authorities. Rumors have circulated for decades thatArafat was gay, and much of the speculation about his death, and the associated secrecy of the circumstances, have led to suggestions that he may have died of Aids

Gabriel Garcia Moreno: had his hand cut off with a machete, was shot 5 times but still managed to shout “God does not die”

Gabriel García Moreno (1821-1875) was the President of Ecuador in 1861. He was reelected three times. In 1875, when he got elected for the third time, it was considered to be his death warrant. He wrote immediately to Pope Pius IX asking for his blessing before inauguration day on August 30, and told him that he knew about conspiracies to assassinate him.

García Moreno's prediction was correct; on August 6, 1875, President Moreno went to the Cathedral in Quito to adore the Blessed Sacrament as he did often. Leaving the Cathedral, his assassins sprang into action. Faustino Rayo, the leader of the band, suddenly attacked the President with a machete while his comrades opened fire with revolvers. But he didn't die right away. Fallen from the porch and lying stretched out on the ground, his head bleeding, his left arm severed and right hand cut off by blows of a machete, the illustrious victim recognized his assailants. Some accounts say he gasped his last words, others that he was able to cry them out defiantly. All agree on the words themselves:“Dios no muere!” “God does not die!” Still conscious, he was brought back into the Cathedral and was laid before the altar of Our Lady of Sorrows. There he received the Last Rites and finally expired. Pope Pius IX, declared that Gabriel Garcia Moreno "died a victim of the Faith and Christian Charity for his beloved country."

Zog of Albania: suffered 55 killing attempts and once survived after shooting his potential assassins

Zog I, Skanderbeg III was the king of the Albanians from 1928 to 1939. During his reign, he is reputed to have survived over 55 assassination attempts. One of these occurred in 1931 while Zog was visiting a Vienna opera house for a performance of Pagliacci. The attackers struck whilst Zog was getting into his car,and he survived by firing back with a pistol that he always carried with him

Alexander II of Russia: after several attempts, got killed with a plan that included 3 backup bombers

Also known as Alexander the Liberator, he was the Emperor, or Czar, of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881. In 1866, there was an attempt on the tsar's life in St. Petersburg by Dmitry Karakozov. To commemorate his narrow escape from death (which he himself referred to only as "the event of 4 April 1866"), a number of churches and chapels were built in many Russian cities. Thirteen years later, on the morning of 20 April 1879, Alexander II was briskly walking towards the Square of the Guards Staff and faced Alexander Soloviev, a 33-year-old former student. Having seen a menacing revolver in his hands, the Tsar fled. Soloviev fired five times but missed, and was sentenced to death and hanged on 28 May. In December 1879, the Narodnaya Volya , a radical revolutionary group which hoped to ignite a social revolution, organized an explosion on the railway from Livadia to Moscow, but they missed the tsar's train. On the evening of 5 February 1880 Stephan Khalturin, also from Narodnaya Volya, set off a charge under the dining room of the Winter Palace. Eleven people were killed and 30 wounded but the tsar was unharmed because he was late for dinner.

Finally, On 13 March 1881, Alexander felt victim to an assassination plot. As he was known to do every Sunday for many years, the tsar went to the Manezh to review the Life Guards. He traveled both to and from the Manezh in a closed carriage accompanied by six Cossacks with a seventh sitting on the coachman's left. The tsar's carriage was followed by two sleighs carrying, among others, the chief of police and the chief of the tsar's guards. The street was flanked by narrow sidewalks for the public. Another member of the Narodnaya Volya movement, Nikolai Rysakov, was carrying a small white package wrapped in a handkerchief. "After a moment's hesitation I threw the bomb. I sent it under the horses' hooves in the supposition that it would blow up under the carriage...The explosion knocked me into the fence."

The explosion, while killing one of the Cossacks and seriously wounding the driver and people on the sidewalk, had only damaged the bulletproof carriage, a gift from Napoleon III of France. The tsar emerged shaken but unhurt. Rysakov was captured almost immediately. Police Chief Dvorzhitsky heard Rysakov shout out to someone else in the gathering crowd. The surrounding guards and the Cossacks urged the tsar to leave the area at once rather than being shown at the site of the explosion. A second young member of the Narodnaya Volya, Ignacy Hryniewiecki, standing by the canal fence, raised both arms and threw another bomb at the tsar's feet. Later it was learned there was a third bomber in the crowd that would have been used if the other two bombers failed.

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