THE brazen murder of a Sikh community leader in Canada is just the latest assassination in a spate of shocking attacks.
Assassins seem to be becoming increasingly bold in their schemes, employing tricky tactics and innocuous-seeming tools such as an umbrella or cup of tea.
From a former Indian MP who was shot dead on live TV to a Russian double agent poisoned by a nerve agent in Salisbury, these are some of the world's most brazen assassinations in recent memory:
Sikh leader shot dead
It has been just three months since Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, 45, was shot dead outside a temple in British Columbia.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau revealed on Monday the country was "actively pursuing credible allegations" linking Indian government agents to Nijjar's murder.
It sparked a major diplomatic row, with Ottowa and Delhi sending envoys home in tit-for-tat expulsions.
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Canadian citizen Nijjar is understood to have supported a Sikh homeland in the form of an independent Khalistani state and was classed a "terrorist" by India in July 2020.
Trudeau said he raised the murder with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the recent G20 summit in New Delhi and urged his government to "cooperate with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter".
The Salisbury poisonings
A couple were left critically ill and rushed to Salisbury Hospital after picking up a perfume bottle containing deadly Novichok believed to have been discarded by two Russian spies.
Dawn Sturgess died aged 44 after spraying the fatal nerve agent on her wrists on June 30, 2018, and collapsing in Amesbury.
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Her partner Charlie Rowley, then 45, regained consciousness on July 10 and was released from hospital.
The same deadly substance is understood to have been used four months earlier in a botched attempt to kill MI6 mole Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
Three members of Russia's GRU military intelligence service – Anatoliy Chepiga, Alexander Mishkin, and Denis Sergeev – have been charged over the attacks but there is no prospect they will be extradited from Russia.
Two of the accused – who were filmed on CCTV – went on Russian TV claiming they were tourists who went to Salisbury to see its famous cathedral spire.
A poison-tipped brolly
Bulgarian dissident and BBC broadcaster Georgi Markov, 49, was waiting for a bus when he felt a sharp pain in the back of his thigh.
He turned to see a man holding an umbrella and muttering excuses in a foreign accent, then watched as he ran into a taxi and disappeared.
Four days later, on September 11, 1978, Markov was dead.
A well-known novelist, screenwriter, and playwright in Bulgaria until his defection in 1969, he had only recently started working as a journalist for the BBC.
He died after lethal poison believed to be ricin entered his bloodstream via a pinhead-sized pellet implanted in his leg.
The identity of his assassin remains unknown, though he is rumoured to have been killed because of his political broadcasts to Bulgaria.
Chemical attack on Kim Jong-Nam
The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un was killed using one of the world's deadliest chemical weapons, said Malaysian police.
Swabs taken from Kim-Jong-Nam's face revealed the presence of nerve agent VX, a chemical "weapon of mass destruction".
He was murdered by two women who forced a cloth drenched in the deadly chemical over his face then disappeared into crowds at Kuala Lumpur airport.
Kim-Jong-Nam reportedly told friends he believed he was in danger when Kim Jong-Un became ruler in 2011.
Iran nuke chief assassinated
A remote-controlled machine gun was used to assassinate the founding father of Iran's nuclear weapons programme, top scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
Iranian media claimed the weapon collected from the site of the killing must have been made in Israel as it had an Israeli factory logo and specifications.
According to the Iranian Fars news agency, the initial shots fired at Dr Fakhrizadeh's bullet-proof car came from a remotely-operated machine gun mounted on a Nissan pick-up truck which exploded with a self-destruct mechanism.
The devastating attack lasted three minutes.
No culprits were caught, although it was claimed more than 60 Mossad agents were involved in the hit.
Haiti President 'pelted' with bullets
The widow of assassinated Haitian President Jovenel Moïse said her husband was gunned down "in the blink of an eye".
Martine Moïse slammed the "gutless killers" who stormed her family home and "pelted my husband with bullets".
She said: "You have to be a notorious criminal without guts to assassinate a president like Jovenel Moïse with impunity, without giving him the chance to speak."
A squad of foreign mercenaries was blamed for the raid, which was caught on CCTV.
Seventeen people were arrested including two US citizens.
Former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, a paid consultant for MI6 and a vocal critic of Putin's regime, was poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 when he drank tea at a Mayfair hotel in 2006.
He fled to the UK seeking political asylum and found work as a journalist and writer.
Litvinenko's murder was allegedly signed off by Putin – an accusation the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.
The European Court of Human Rights found Russia was responsible for the UK assassination.
One of the two suspected assassins identified by Scotland Yard went on to become an MP in Putin's party.
Presidential candidate killed
Fernando Villavicencio, 59, was shot dead just days before the Ecuador election as he left a political rally in northern Quito last month.
Chilling footage showed him being escorted out of the event by guards and into a white truck before gunfire erupted.
It is understood the aspiring president was shot three times in the head. He was declared dead at a nearby clinic.
One suspect was killed and another nine people, including a female candidate for the National Assembly and two police officers, were injured in the crossfire with security services.
A provincial governor in central Philippines, Roel Degamo, and five others were shot dead by unknown gunmen in March this year.
Police said six people carrying rifles and dressed in military garb and bulletproof vests opened fire on Degamo as he sat behind a desk speaking with locals in his own residential compound in Pamplona.
The 56-year-old was the third politician to be shot since last year's local elections but the country's first sitting governor to be assassinated in 35 years.
His widow Janice Degamo said in a video shared to Facebook: "Governor Degamo did not deserve that kind of death. He was serving his constituents on a Saturday."
Murdered on live TV
The dramatic moment gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed was shot dead by gunmen posing as journalists was broadcast live on TV.
The former Indian MP, who was convicted of kidnapping, and his brother were gunned down as police escorted them in handcuffs from a Uttar Pradesh hospital where they had a medical check-up.
A gunman was seen in the video to reach over the police officers surrounding the brothers and point at pistol at Ahmed's head.
The gun discharged and Ahmed's turban was blown off, the politician collapsing as his brother Ashraf was shot.
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Both men, allegedly kingpins in a local crime organisation, died within minutes.
Three men pretending to be journalists were arrested by police.
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