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October 12, 2005

Understanding Suicide Bombers

Snapshots has in the past referred to reports that cast doubt on the common claim that desperation or poverty instigates terrorism.

Here, from the Associated Press, is a report suggesting that terrorism is often instigated by... instigators.

AP's Nasser Shiyoukhi reports:

In another raid, the army arrested a 14-year-old Palestinian boy who told his interrogators that militants from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades — which has ties to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement — pressured him to carry out a suicide bombing after he quarreled with his father.

Militant groups have increasingly turned to youths to carry out attacks in recent years, hoping the army would be less suspicious of them. The boy, identified by militants and his parents as Salah al Jitan, would have been one of the youngest Palestinian suicide bombers.

Salah's parents, who confirmed their son is 14, said that after they quarreled with him about a month ago, five armed Al-Aqsa militants came to their house to tell them to leave the boy alone. Last week, they came again, this time to take him away for a suicide bombing, said his father, Moussa al Jitan.

The father said Salah did not want to go, adding that he would not let them take him. The teenager did not leave the house until Israeli forces arrested him Monday, a move his parents welcomed.

"Good, he will be in jail. That's better than dying," said Sariel al Jitan, his mother.

The teenager said the militants threatened to kill him and tell everyone he was a collaborator with Israel if he didn't carry out the attack, the army said.

AP's Ali Daraghmeh adds:

The boy, a resident of the West Bank city of Nablus, told interrogators that Palestinian militants pressured him to carry out the attack after he quarreled with his father.

Military officials said the father was angry at the boy for stealing money. Militants suggested that carrying out an attack might make the father proud, and told the boy he had nothing to live for anyway, military officials said.

The alleged recruiters denied this account.

Posted by GI at October 12, 2005 05:00 PM


I recommend Daniel Pipes's "Arafat's Suicide Factory" and The New Yorker's "Aresenal of Believers."

Posted by: David Gerstman at October 17, 2005 01:28 AM

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