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"We need a statement, not a manifesto. The Holy City will be enough for today."
―Wilhuff Tarkin, to Orson Krennic[1]

The destruction of Jedha City,[4] also referred to as the destruction of the holy city, or as the massacre at Jedha,[3] occurred during the reign of the Galactic Empire when the Empire, in an effort to test the superlaser of the Death Star, used the battle station to destroy the holy city of the moon Jedha. Operating on a single reactor for the superlaser's power, the Empire evacuated the Imperial occupation force before moving the Death Star into orbit, targeting the holy city, and destroying it. The blast caused not only an enormous explosion but also significant damage to the moon, throwing fire, smoke, and dirt high into the air. On the ground, the shockwave caused Jedha's surface to begin peeling back, destroying everything that it touched. The Empire subsequently fabricated a cover story for the Imperial Senate that Jedha was destroyed in a mining disaster.[1]

By the time of the Cold War, some dismissed the destruction of the city as mere Imperial propaganda capitalizing on the "actual" mining accident.[5]


As the Galactic Empire completed the Death Star, one of its scientists, Galen Erso convinced Imperial cargo pilot Bodhi Rook to defect and take a message to Saw Gerrera and his partisans on Jedha. Rook returned to his homeworld of Jedha. There, he surrendered to the partisans and was taken to right to Gerrera. During this time, Rebel Alliance Intelligence officer, Captain Cassian Andor learned of the message from Tivik on the Ring of Kafrene.[6][1]

The destruction[]

"Oh, It's beautiful..."
―Orson Krennic — (audio) Listen (file info)[1]

Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin and Imperial Military Department of Advanced Weapons Research Director Orson Krennic watched the Death Star's completion aboard the Executrix. Tarkin learned that Krennic had a defector loose in Jedha City and was decided to test the weapon to prevent more systems from joining the Alliance. The Alliance sent Captain Andor, K-2SO and Professor Erso's daughter, Jyn Erso to verify the pilot's claim and find Professor Erso.[6] Andor, Erso, Chirrut Îmwe, and Baze Malbus were captured by the partisans and taken to the Catacombs of Cadera. There, Gerrera gave Jyn the message from her father.[7][1]

The Holy City's destruction seen from the Catacombs of Cadera

Despite Krennic wishing to destroy Jedha in its entirety, Tarkin decided that they did not require a pronouncement of the Death Star's power, and chose to destroy Jedha City only. He also ensured that Lord Vader and the Emperor would not be there in case of any embarrassment. After Protocol 13 evacuated all Imperial forces from the city, Krennic gave the order and destroyed the city. The city was destroyed in a matter of seconds[7] and the shockwave moved the catacombs. Some of the partisans, except Gerrera made their escape.[1] In his last moment alive, Gerra simply said "Steela,"[8] the name of his sister, who had died during the Clone Wars.[9] Andor, Erso, Îmwe, Malbus and Rook were able to make their escape and meet up with K2 aboard the LMTR-20 U-wing before the shockwave destroyed the Catacombs.[8][1]


"There is no Death Star. We're informing the Senate that Jedha was destroyed in a mining disaster. I expect you to not rest until you can assure the Emperor that Erso has not compromised the weapon."
―Darth Vader speaking with Krennic's on the Death Star's "problems"[10]

Pleased with the test, Tarkin apologized to Krennic and decided to take command of the Death Star. Despite Krennic's objections, Tarkin told him that he needed to find and eliminate the defector's contact at the kyber refinery on Eadu. Andor and his friends continued with their mission and went to Eadu to rescue Professor Erso. In truth, Andor was under orders to eliminate Erso. Krennic arrived and demanded to know who supplied Rook with information on the Death Star. Professor Erso revealed himself as the traitor, but Krennic killed the other scientists.[8][1]

The Alliance sent in Blue Squadron to bomb the facility.[8] Erso was mortally wounded in the attack, but was comforted by his daughter before she, Andor, and their friends could escape. Lord Vader learned of Jedha City's destruction and the Alliance's attack on Eadu. He summoned Director Krennic to his Fortress on Mustafar to explain the problems concerning the Death Star. Vader told Krennic that there was no Death Star and that the Imperial Senate was told that Jedha City was destroyed in a "mining accident". Vader told Krennic to make sure that Erso did not compromise the weapon.[10]

Behind the scenes[]

The destruction of Jedha City was depicted in the 2016 Anthology film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The first footage of the event was shown in the first Rogue One trailer on August 11, 2016.[11]

In Star Wars Legends, the event where the Death Star tested its superweapon was identified as the Destruction of Despayre.[12]



Notes and references[]

Galactic Civil War
(4 BBY5 ABY)
Galactic timeline

Previous: Early rebellion against the Galactic Empire

Concurrent: Campaigns of Saw Gerrera's Partisans · Great Jedi Purge · Jedha insurgency · Mandalorian Civil War · Ryloth Insurgency · Virgillian civil war · Border skirmishes with the New Separatist Union

Next: Hunt for Fyzen Gor

Battles of the Galactic Civil War
4 BBY Mustafar (I) · Arkanis (I) · Quila · Imperial shield generators
Siege of Lothal (Lothal (I) · Phoenix Squadron (I)) · Seelos · Absanz · Ibaar · Thrad · Garel (I) · Interdictor
3 BBY Phoenix Squadron (II) · Calderos Station · Onoam · Christophsis · Paucris Major · Imvur · Garel (II) · Lothal Depot · Concord Dawn (I) · Concord Dawn (II) · Lira San · Ryloth (I) · Geonosis (I) · Horizon Base · Phoenix Squadron (III)
2 BBY Naraka · Lothal campaign (Yarma · Ryloth (II) · Mykapo · Imperial Armory Complex · Chopper Base · Chimaera · Archeon Nebula · Atollon) · Teralov · Montross · Agamar · Concord Dawn (III) · Geonosis (II) · Krownest · Killun Station
1 BBY Jalindi · Faos Station · Lothal campaign (Lothal (II))
0 BBY Lothal campaign (Lothal (III)) · Crucival · Ring of Kafrene · Wobani · Operation Fracture (Jedha (I) · Eadu) · Scarif · Tatooine (I) · Operation Mad Rush (Vir Aphshire) · The Disaster · Fostar Haven · Death Star · Yavin
0 ABY Taanab · Yavin 4 (II) · Alderaan survivors · Cyrkon · Andelm IV · Llanic · Rodia · Denon · Giju · Tertiary Usaita system · Devaron · Hradreek · Kuat (I) · Imdaar · Cymoon 1 · Tatooine (II) · Monsua Nebula · Nar Shaddaa · Vrogas Vas · Grumwall · Jedha (III) · Mon Cala (I)
1 ABY Mako-Ta
(Mid Rim Retreat)
Accresker Jail · Haidoral Prime · Kontahr sector · Coyerti (Imperial scout post · Imperial fort · Distillery · Imperial garrison) · Bestine IV · Metatessu sector · Enrivi system · Chonsetta system · Redhurne system · Rebel flotilla · Hoth (I) · Cloud City (I) · Cloud City (II) · Malastare (I) · Rendezvous Point Delta-Three · Sixth Division · Cloud City (III) · Tempes · Elessia · Operation Starlight (Imperial Museum · Felucia · Ab Dalis · Panisia) · Jekara system · Operation Ringbreaker (Mardona III · Najan-Rovi · Obumubo · Nakadia (I) · Naator · Xagobah (I) · Kuliquo belt · Inyusu Tor) · Mek'tradi · Trenchenovu
4 ABY Rebel convoy · Hudalla · Operation Yellow Moon · Platform M36 · Invincible Faith · Mordal · Endor (I) · Hosnian system · Sullust · Durkteel · Coruscant (II) · Endor (III) · Cawa City · Operation: Cinder (Fondor (I) · Naboo (I) · Nacronis · Abednedo (I)) · Tayron · Iron Blockade (Cloud City (IV) · Anoat (I) · The Crypt · Mataou · Hoth (II) · Anoat (II)) · Malastare (II) · Jendorn · Jiruus · Oridol Cluster · Harrikos system · Abednedo (II) · Haldeen sector · Hunt for Shadow Wing (Pandem Nai) · Akiva (II) · Naalol · Geonosis (III) · Uyter · Sevarcos · Akiva (III) · Vetine · Var-Shaa · Bormea · Yavin Prime · Victorum · Hosnian Prime · Desevro · Esseles · Zavian Abyss · Remitik · Mon Cala (II) · Gorse · Onderon · Nadiri (I) · Ringali Nebula · Nadiri (II) · Galitan
5 ABY Jarbanov · Edict · Parozha VII · Cerberon system (Verzan · Troithe (I) · Catadra · Cerberon · Troithe (II)) · Takodana · Hyborean Moon · Vorlag · Wild Space · Nag Ubdur (Govneh Ridge · Binjai-Tin) · Arkanis (II) · Kuat (II) · Kashyyyk · Chandrila (I) · Chinook Station · Sullust (II) · Naboo (II) · Fondor (II) · Nythlide Array · Xagobah (II) · Operation: Cinder (Dybbron III · Kortatka · Chadawa) · Hunt for Shadow Wing (Deliverance · Ciaox Verith · Red Yars · Yadeez (I) · Yadeez (II) · Ghonoath · G'Tep'Noi · Chadawa · Netalych) · Coruscant (III) · Jakku
Other Akiva (I) · Allst Prime · Bamayar · Beroq 4 · Blacktar Cyst · Bogano · Candor · Castilon · Chargona · Crait · Criigo · Coruscant (I) · Derra · Distilon · Elessia · Garel (III) · Garel (IV) · Garel (V) · Ghost Moon · Gorma · Harbinger · Hivebase-1 · Horox III · Hubin · Iakar (II) · K43 · Kuat (III) · Lanz Carpo · Lucrehulk Prime · Mennar-Daye · Mustafar (II) · Nakadia (II) · Nebulon-B frigate · Nevarro · Novka · Ocean planet · Ord Biniir · Panisia · Perimako Major · Phorsa Gedd · Pirate station · Primtara · Prison transport vessel · Rebel Alliance · Rebel base · Rebel fleet · Rekkana · Sergia · Shu-Torun · Skorii-Lei (I) · Skorii-Lei (II) · Star Destroyer · Sunspot Prison · Taris · Operations on Tatooine (Atom Edge · Imperial Listening Station · Tatooine (III)) · Tibrin · Turkana · Tureen VII · Xorrn
Related topics and articles
Galactic Empire · Hutt Clan · Jedi · Rebel Alliance · Sith · New Republic · Death Star · Death Star II · Declaration of the Rebel Alliance · Jedha (II) · Imperial Senate · Yavin 4 (I) · Endor (II) · Liberation Day · Contingency · Chandrila (II) · Galactic Concordance · Imperial Instruments of Surrender
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