Suleiman al-Halabi

Suleiman al-Halabi (Arabic: سليمان الحلبي‎), also spelled Soleyman El-Halaby (1777–1800), was the man who assassinated French general Jean-Baptiste Kléber, leader of the French occupation forces in Egypt. He was tortured by burning his hand to the bone before being executed by anal impalement.

Suleiman al-Halabi
سليمان الحلبي
Modern Drawing of Suleiman al-Halabi
Bornc. 1777
Diedc. 1800
OccupationTheology student
Known forAssassination of French general Jean Baptiste Kléber

Early lifeEdit

Suleiman al-Halabi was born a Kurd in 1777 in Aleppo, Syria in the village of Kukan Between Aleppo and Afrin.[1] his father, Mohammad Amin, was a merchant of butter and olive oil. al-Halabi's father sent him to Cairo, Egypt in 1797 to study Islamic sciences at Al-Azhar University.

Assassination, trial and executionEdit

Assassination of Kléber, painting in the Musée historique de Strasbourg.
Arabic Title page of the record of al-Halabi's trial

On June 14, 1800, al-Halabi approached Kléber's home in the guise of a beggar seeking an audience with Kléber. When he approached him, Kléber extended his hand for al-Halabi to kiss in return for some money. Instead, al-Halabi violently pulled the general toward him and stabbed him four times with a stiletto. He was 23 years old when he assassinated the commander of the French campaign on Egyptian soil. Kléber's chief engineer tried to defend him and was stabbed but not mortally wounded.

Al-Halabi hid in a nearby park where he was found by French soldiers, who searched him and found his stiletto. He was arrested and tortured, his right arm burnt to the bone while he denied any relationship with Sheikh Al-Sharkawi or the popular resistance movements. He was tried and sentenced to death by anal impalement. He was placed on a blunt stick that slowly pushed at his organs, dragged down by his weight, and remained on it for four hours, reciting Quranic verses to try to comfort himself.


The skull of Sulayman Al-Halabi are on display at the Musée de l'Homme in Paris.[2]

An Arab nationalist play based on his assassination of General Kléber, "Sulayman Al-Halabi," was written by Egyptian playwright Alfred Farag in 1965.[3] In Farag's interpretation, Al-Halabi's motives have more to do with popular Arab revolt against foreign occupation, rather than political assassination for financial gain.


  1. ^ Halverson, Jeffry R.; Greenberg, Nathaniel (2017-10-05). Islamists of the Maghreb. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-351-60510-6.
  2. ^ "Musée de l'Homme". Retrieved 2021-02-02.
  3. ^ "Alfred Farag". Retrieved 2021-02-02.

External linksEdit