Examples of one country assassinating another country's leader

Can anyone think of instances in the past 300 years in which one country’s government assassinated another country’s leader?

It has to be extrajudicial – so not a case that went through courts and ended in an execution.

It should be more direct than, for instance, U.S. officials agreeing to look the other way while their local allies in Chile or South Vietnam launch a coup that kills the leader.

The best example I can think of so far is the 1961 killing of Congolese prime minister Patrice Lumumba by order of the Belgian government – but it was not entirely direct, as Belgian officials and Congolese rebels were both involved in the act.

Any other examples?

Do failed attempts count, or only successful ones? The U.S. tried multiple times to kill Fidel Castro with various means such as exploding cigars, and North Korea also tried to kill the South Korean president.

Failed attempts are worth a mention, but I’m more curious about the successful ones.

At the beginning of the Soviet-Afghan War, the Soviet Union assassinated the communist de-facto leader of Afghanistan Hafizullah Amin because they thought he was the wrong sort of communist. See Operation Storm-333.

JFK, if you believe the “Soviets done it” version of the many Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories (I personally do not).

With a quick glance through the ‘assassinated heads of state’ Wikipedia page, the only other likely one I noticed was an apparently suspected KGB killing, though the Wikipedia article is quite sparse and I know nothing about the topic myself.

William the Silent, Prince of Orange, was assassinated by a Catholic, Balthasar Gérard, in part because King Philip of Spain had offered a reward of 25,000 crowns for the assassination.

Not quite the top leader, but Jan Masaryk, the most prominent non-Communist minister in the postwar Czech government, fell to his death in circumstances that were called suicide at the time, but may well have been a Soviet-organised assassination.

It’s pretty absurd; I’m pretty sure that the US government of the 1960s would have roasted the Soviet Union in nuclear fire if they had any proof that they successfully assassinated the President.

Keep in mind, this was only a year after the Cuban Missile Crisis; it’s not like tensions were low, and the two countries were getting along well.

As I said, I don’t believe it.

The mob, on the other hand…?

US Vietnam, 1963:

Kennedy let loose the CIA. U.S.-backed generals in Saigon overthrew and assassinated South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother Nhu, head of the regime’s secret police, in the back of an armored personnel carrier.

You must have a very interesting calendar.

Darn, this is the one I was going to suggest.

Do wars count? How about Saddam Hussein?

We did a little more than just look the other way. These were govt sanctioned CIA operations…

This one, too. CIA.

Since the OP said “It has to be extrajudicial – so not a case that went through courts and ended in an execution,” I don’t think Saddam counts. He was tried in court and hanged.

You’re right. I’d forgotten there was a “trial”

How about Engelbert Dollfuss?

Dollfuss was assassinated as part of a failed coup attempt by Nazi agents in 1934.

It was Gaddafi whose convoy was hit by NATO airstrikes, and was tortured and killed at the side of the road.

Close call with Franz Ferdinand, expected to succeed the aging Kaiser who died just two years later.

The assassination of Swedish prime minister Olof Palme in 1986 was generally assumed to be connected to the South African government due to Palme’s influential work against apartheid. In 2020 Sweden officially blamed it on a dead random Swedish guy who had no political motivations and was “seeking attention.” I’m not sure many people’s minds were changed by this.

Good point. You’re right. Many of these operations, though indirect, were U.S.-initiated and would not have happened otherwise.

Also, I mentioned Chile, but the 1973 coup led Allende to die by suicide rather than surrender. Definitely an armed attack on a leader, but not an assassination.