The days when Palestinian terrorist groups had more suicide volunteers than they could handle seem to be over. That, anyway, is the implication of a report about the coercion by the Palestinian Authority of a 14-year-old boy.
Wanted Tanzim terrorist Rabi'ah Abu Alil originally tried to employ the boy as a suicide bomber after he and his father quarreled over money. The boy refused, and was taken to an apartment by Abu Alil and another wanted Arab terrorist, Jamal Tirawi. Tirawi is also a high ranking Palestinian Authority (PA) intelligence officer, the IDF said.
"Despite the youth's pleas that he be released to his home and left alone, Tirawi and Abu Alil threatened him that if he did not cooperate, they would kill him and distribute a communiqué claiming he had been collaborating with the Israeli army," the IDF announcement stated. Terrorists photographed the boy wearing a vest and holding a rifle and a copy of the Koran.
The terrorists finally released the youth without harming him. The Associated Press reported that Tirawi responded to the charges by saying that "the Israelis are liars."
"This is not an isolated case," an IDF spokesman said. "Since the beginning of 2005, the number of minors who have been drafted by the different organizations to carry out terror attacks and attacks against Israeli military targets has risen dramatically."
Comment: Twenty years ago, when suicide terrorism was in its infancy, such coercion of teenagers was common, as I documented in my 1986 article, "The Scourge of Suicide Terrorism." I concluded there:
These are not the hallmarks of "fanatics," but of individuals dragooned into service. Analysts who see the suicide attackers as volunteers miss the point: anyone unfortunate enough to get into a traffic collision can find himself days later driving a bomb-laden car. Inmates on death row, political dissidents, members of ethnic minorities - under the proper conditions, any of these can be coerced to undertake a suicidal attack
It would be good news, indeed, if the PA and other malign authorities are reduced once again to such methods of recruitment. (October 14, 2005)