TEL AVIV ø Palestinian insurgents have increased
their use of children for operations against Israel.
Israeli military sources said Palestinian insurgency groups have
employed children as young as eight to support insurgency attacks against
Israeli targets. They said the youngsters have been asked to smuggle
explosives, weapons, or bomb components for such groups as the ruling Fatah
movement as well as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
The use of children by Palestinian insurgency groups has nearly tripled
since 2002. The military said that in the first half of 2004, 72 Palestinian
minors were arrested at checkpoints on charges of trying to smuggle weapons
or components to Palestinian insurgency groups.
In 2001, 27 Palestinian youngsters were arrested at Israeli military
checkpoints for insurgency activities, Middle East Newsline reported. The military did not release figures
for the arrest of Palestinian minors in 2002 and 2003.
Military sources said the increased use of youngsters was in response to
heightened security measures around the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They said
Palestinian youngsters will help insurgents for as little as 10 shekels, or
more than $2.