Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Willing to Die: Palestinian suicide bombers

Inexplicable Terror

It seemed as if everything was going her way. Hanadi Jaradat, 29, had a loving and supportive family and had just received a job at a law firm in Jenin after getting a university law degree. Moreover, her   younger brother Fadi, 24, was set to marry.

On the evening of June 12, 2003, Hanadi and Fadi were sitting in the courtyard of their family home in Jenin with their cousin Salahs pregnant wife, Ismath, and toddler son, who lived with them. According to Vered Levy-Barzilai in Ticking Bomb   they were delighted when Salah unexpectedly showed up at the family home because he had long been on the Israeli security forces wanted list and had been living underground and staying constantly on the move.

Salah was wanted in connection with two bomb attacks that killed 31 Israelis and wounded 56 more. The Islamic Jihad carried out the attack and the family knew that Salah may have been very senior in the organization.

Yet, none of that mattered at the time of Salahs visit. That night they were just happy to see Salah in good health and, most importantly, alive. Finally he was able to spend some time with his little son and wife, whom he rarely had the chance to visit.

As the Jaradat family enjoyed their reunion, Israeli forces were planning a siege. Salahs crimes were not forgotten and they sought retribution for the loss of so many lives. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) undercover unit was sent on that day to arrest Salah. They found him at the Jaradat family home.

When the IDF arrived at the home, they shot Salah and Fadi in front of Hanadi and Ismath. Salah died immediately and Fadi a short while afterward. Shocked and terrified, Hanadi screamed at the men who killed her family members. The next day, the Israeli army came to the Jaradat house and destroyed it.

The event changed Hanadis life forever. Levy-Barzilai wrote that shortly after Salahs and Fadis deaths Hanadi stood over their graves and was heard declaring that the murderer will yet pay the price and we will not be the only ones who are crying. She followed through on her promise.

On October 4, 2003, after joining ranks with the Islamic Jihad, she decided to exact her revenge against as many Israelis as possible. With explosives packed around her body, she managed to bypass Israeli border checkpoint guards. Hanadi then made her way to a popular Jewish/Arab-owned restaurant in Haifa named Maxim. At 2 p.m. she detonated the bomb. The restaurant was destroyed and along with it, 19 innocent people, including an infant. Approximately 60 more people were wounded and maimed by the attack. The bombing was one of the bloodiest and most deadly suicide attacks ever carried out by a female Palestinian bomber.

Outside Maxim restaurant bombing
Outside Maxim restaurant bombing

Hanadi was the sixth Palestinian female suicide terrorist to attack Israelis but she is not likely to be the last. She was also one of a long line of Palestinian homicide bombers that have wreaked havoc on Israeli citizens over the last decade. Many Palestinians commended her for her martyrdom and consider her a heroine. Levy-Barzilai   quoted Hanadis father as saying that he was proud of what his daughter had done and that her bombing was a gift to the homeland and the Palestinian people.

As disturbing as this attitude is, many Palestinian extremists share his view and believe that Israel is an enemy of not only the Palestinian people but of Islam. The acceptance of homicide bombers as a justifiable weapon against civilians is prevalent among Palestinians, according to polls taken by Palestinians and Westerners alike.

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