Palestinian insurgents dressing as women

Friday, January 31, 2003

GAZA CITY Palestinian insurgents have carried out attacks disguised as women to avoid Israeli counter-fire.

The method has been adopted by the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. The group is led by the ruling Fatah movement.

Israeli military officers said Al Aqsa insurgents have taken to dressing as Bedouin women in the Gaza Strip during shooting attacks on Israeli civilian and military installations. They said the insurgents have donned traditional Bedouin dress to avoid capture and confuse Israeli soldiers.

Several cases of the new insurgency tactic were reported over the last few months. The latest case was on Thursday when the Israeli community of Dugit came under fire in the northern Gaza Strip. Israeli forces later captured a suspected insurgent dressed as a Bedouin woman.

A senior Israeli officer, identified as Lt. Col. Yossi, said the disguise employed by Al Aqsa has not turned widespread. But he said his forces have encountered several such cases in the Gaza Strip.

In the latest incident, the insurgent dressed as a woman was quickly identified by the elite Israeli Givati brigade. Yossi said the insurgent was shooting from a position surrounded by civilians.

"The tank at the IDF security post identified the terrorist but did not open defensive fire since the area was populated by civilians and we did not want to harm innocent lives," the Israeli officer said. "We began checking the people who strenuously claimed that there was no terrorist in their houses. We identified a man dressed as a traditional Beduin woman."

The Palestinian insurgent was said to have told Israeli interrogators that after shooting his rifle toward Dugit, he gave his weapon to a Palestinian who lived in a nearby shack. Israeli soldiers later discovered Israeli army uniforms in the shack.

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