Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Willing to Die: Palestinian suicide bombers


On March 16, 2004, Palestinian terrorists associated with Yasser Arafats Fatah group tricked a 12-year-old boy into carrying a large bomb in his school bag into a checkpoint near Nablus.  Abdullah Quran's life was saved only because a cell phone rigged to detonate the 13-pound bomb failed to set off the explosive at the checkpoint as it had been designed to do. The border guard heard the cell phone and opened the bag.

Abdullah Quran
Abdullah Quran

The unwitting youngster did not understand that he had been selected to be the youngest suicide bomber nor did he realize that the men who had persuaded him to carry the bomb were planning to kill him. He had been instructed to carry the package, which he believed were car parts, to a woman waiting on the other side of the checkpoint.

After hours of questioning, the child was released when it became clear that he did not know what he was carrying.

The New York Times on March 24, 2004 reported that again a gullible teenager was tricked into carrying an 18-pound bomb vest to an Israeli checkpoint. A 16-year-old Palestinian boy, with the mind of a 12-year old according to his brother, had a suicide bomb vest strapped to his body when he was stopped at a checkpoint. The Israeli soldiers used a robot to provide the boy with some scissors to remove the vest.

Husam Abdo, the young Palestinian, told the Israeli police that he didn't want to die. He didn't want to blow up. Husams outraged family said that he had acted strangely the day before militants had strapped the bomb on him.

Husam Abdo
Husam Abdo

``In addition to the fact that he would have harmed my soldiers, he would have also harmed the Palestinians waiting at the checkpoint, and there were 200 to 300 innocent Palestinians there,'' said the checkpoint commander.

How did the Palestinian people react to this outrage? The Washington Times reported: Although some offered conspiracy theories blaming Israeli secret agents, many acknowledged that some militants deliberately involve children in their attacks on Israelis. Other incidents in recent months include a Palestinian teenager stopped on his way to perpetrate a suicide-bombing attack and two minors caught trying to slip into Israel with handmade guns.

The double bombing on March 14 involved two 17-year-old boys. Recently bombers have been women with children. Yassin, the assassinated leader of Hamas, has declared that he will use more women in homicide attacks.

Once a culture can convince itself that suicide bombing of innocent civilians is a religious duty, despite Islams prohibition against suicide and against the murder of civilians, it can rationalize any despicable act. How did this type of terrorism become entrenched in the Palestinian mind and why do the Palestinian people embrace this practice?

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