JERUSALEM Ñ Palestinian insurgency groups have stepped up their
recruitment of women suicide bombers.
Israeli security sources said the ruling Fatah movement as well as Hamas
and Islamic Jihad have increased efforts to recruit Palestinian women for
suicide bombing missions in Israel. They said the recruitment has been most
pronounced in the northern West Bank cities of Jenin and Nablus.
"There is an increase in the pool of women who have signed up for
suicide attacks," an Israeli security source said.
On Wednesday, two Israeli police officers were killed and 15 civilians
were injured when a Palestinian woman blew herself up near a hitch-hiking
station in northern Jerusalem. Israeli officials said police prevented the
woman, carrying a bomb of up to five kilograms, from entering the station,
which would have resulted in much greater casualties.
The Fatah-dominated Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for
the attack. The unit was said to be headed by Zakaria Zbeida, head of the
Fatah insurgency movement in the northern West Bank and at the top of the
list of Palestinians wanted by Israel.
The attacker was identified as an 18-year-old college student and
resident of Nablus. The sources said that seven Palestinian suicide bombers
were recruited and sent to attack Israeli civilian targets over the last
[On Thursday, Fatah insurgents infiltrated an army post outside an
Israeli community in the southern Gaza Strip and killed three Israeli
soldiers. Three insurgents were killed, and hours later Hamas gunners fired
a Kassam missile that landed in the Israeli city of Sderot.]
In all, Israeli forces have identified 40 Palestinian women involved in
insurgency attacks against Israeli targets since 2001. The women were said
to have been ordered to dress in Western clothes in an attempt to move past
Israeli military checkpoints.
The sources said most of the Palestinian women involved in attacks were
in their twenties and recruited by Fatah. They said most of them were
educated and struggling with family problems.