2002 Los Angeles International Airport shooting
|2002 Los Angeles International Airport shooting|
Los Angeles International Airport|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Date||July 4, 2002|
|Target||Passengers and personnel of Israeli airliner El Al at Los Angeles International Airport|
|Deaths||3 (including the perpetrator)|
|Perpetrator||Soquaz Mohamed Hadayet|
|Motive||To influence U.S. government policy in favor of the Palestinians|
On Independence Day of the United States, July 4, 2002, a lone terrorist opened fire at the airline ticket counter of El Al, Israel's national airline, at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California. Two people were killed and four others were injured before the gunman was fatally shot by a security guard after also being wounded by him.
On July 4, 2002 at around 11:30 a.m., a lone gunman approached the El Al ticket counter at the Los Angeles International Airport, pulled out two Glock pistols and started shooting at the 90 passengers standing in the line. Initially, the assailant killed 25-year-old Customer Service Agent Victoria Hen, who was standing behind the counter, with a gunshot to the chest. Later, the assailant opened fire at the passengers as they huddled nearby and killed 46-year-old bystander Yaakov Aminov. In addition, he injured four other bystanders.
The terrorist used a .45-caliber handgun in the shooting. In addition, he was armed with a 9 mm handgun, a 6-inch knife, and was also carrying extra magazines and ammunition for both guns.
After the gunman fired 10 bullets at the crowd, one of El Al's security guards, who was unarmed, managed to knock him down. Meanwhile, El Al's security officer, Chaim Sapir, ran to the scene but was stabbed by the assailant with a knife. Despite this, Sapir managed to draw his pistol and shoot the gunman in the chest, killing him.
Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, a 41-year-old Egyptian national, was identified as the assailant. He emigrated to the United States in 1992, arriving on a tourist visa but claimed political asylum; however, his status was tenuous until 1997 when his wife won the Diversity Immigrant Visa lottery enabling both to become legal residents. In Egypt he had been arrested for being a member of Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, an Islamist group. He denied the accusation to U.S. immigration authorities. He said that he was a member of Assad Eben Furat Mosque Association, a group that aimed to "understand truly and apply Islamic law in the 20th century under any circumstances." Despite these Islamist commitments, he was given permission to live in the U.S. while his asylum application was pending. His asylum request was denied in 1995 but a letter notifying him was returned by the Post Office as undeliverable and no further efforts appear to have been made to locate and deport him.
Like Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, Sayfullo Habibullaevich Saipov, the perpetrator of the 2017 New York City attack, gained legal residency in the United States under the Diversity Immigrant Visa lottery.
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