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Monday, November 08, 2004

Shin Bet: Palestinians increasing use of children in terror

According to a Shin Bet report obtained by The Jerusalem Post, the use of children in attacks is now common among all the Palestinian terror organizations.

Since the outbreak of violence in September 2000, the number of Palestinian minors involved in terror has escalated. Up until Bintawi's arrest on Thursday, 126 minors were involved in planned and executed terror acts since the beginning of 2004, with a total of 309 in the past four years.

Children as young as 11 years old are easily persuaded to join the conflict with assurances that they will gain respect in the next life. Terror organizations then distance the young recruits from their families and schools and subject them to religious and nationalistic indoctrination, the report says.

Besides being influenced by programs broadcast on Palestinian Authority television encouraging them to support jihad, children are taught in schools and summer camps, under the banner of Islam, to back resistance acts against Israel and identify with martyrs.

Parents also permit their children to participate in mass rallies in the West Bank and Gaza organized by various terror organizations. Children are often filmed carrying mock weapons or wearing explosive belts with bandannas tied around their heads, as if dressing up as martyrs.
In June 2002, security forces in Hebron discovered a photo of a baby wearing a mock explosives belt. Other children mentioned in the Shin Bet report include a 13-year-old boy from Tulkarm who, after his arrest, admitted that he had been recruited by the Islamic Jihad to carry out a suicide attack in Israel and a 15-year-old girl from Bethlehem with similar plans. The girl told security officials that her uncle, a senior Fatah Tanzim official in the city, had helped her.

In June 2003, Sa'ad Oudeh, 17, blew himself up at the French Hill intersection in Jerusalem, killing seven Israelis.

The Shin Bet report also revealed that terror organizations hide bombs inside children's toys and satchels in order to evade detection.