In 1978, al-Zawahiri married his first wife, Azza Ahmed Nowari, a student at Cairo University who was studying philosophy. Their wedding, which was held at the Continental Hotel in Opera Square, was very conservative, with separate areas for both men and women, and no music, photographs, or light-hearted humour.
Boeing 747-237B, Air India Flight 855 on January 1, 1978, crashed into the Arabian Sea just off the coast of Bombay, India, killing all 190 passengers and 23 crew on board. An investigation concluded that the captain became disoriented after the failure of one of the flight instruments in the cockpit, leading to "irrational control inputs" that caused the plane to crash.
On 7 January 1978, an article ("Iran and Red and Black Colonization") appeared in the national daily Ettela'at newspaper. Written under a pseudonym by a government agent, it denounced Khomeini as a "British agent" and a "mad Indian poet" conspiring to sell out Iran to neo-colonialists and communists. Upon the publishing of the article, religious seminary students in the city of Qom, angered over the insult to Khomeini, clashed with police. According to the government, two were killed in the clash; according to the opposition, seventy were killed and over five hundred were injured. However, the casualty figures are different in different sources.
Five days later, he stole a car and drove to Atlanta, where he boarded a bus and arrived in Tallahassee, Florida, on the morning of January 8. He rented a room under the alias Chris Hagen at the Holiday Inn near the Florida State University (FSU) campus.
On 10 January 1978, the editor of the Managua newspaper La Prensa, and founder of the Union for Democratic Liberation (UDEL), Pedro Joaquín Chamorro Cardenal was murdered by suspected elements of the Somoza regime, and riots broke out in the capital city, Managua, targeting the Somoza regime.
In an adjoining bedroom Ted attacked Kathy Kleiner, breaking her jaw and deeply lacerating her shoulder; and Karen Chandler, who suffered a concussion, broken jaw, loss of teeth, and a crushed finger. Chandler and Kleiner survived the attack; Kleiner later attributed their survival to automobile headlights illuminating the interior of their room and frightening away the attacker.
Tallahassee detectives later determined that the four attacks took place in a total of fewer than 15 minutes, within earshot of more than 30 witnesses who heard nothing. After leaving the sorority house, Bundy broke into a basement apartment eight blocks away and attacked FSU student Cheryl Thomas, dislocating her shoulder and fracturing her jaw and skull in five places. She was left with permanent deafness and equilibrium damage that ended her dance career. On Thomas' bed, police found a semen stain and a pantyhose "mask" containing two hairs "similar to Bundy's in class and characteristic".
Following the riots, a general strike on 23–24 January called for the end of the Somoza regime and was, according to the U.S. State Department staff at the U.S. Embassy, successful at shutting down around 80% of businesses in not only Managua but also the provincial capitals of León, Granada, Chinandega, and Matagalpa.