Hussam Abdo

Hussam Abdo (also Husam, Abdu), (full name Hussam Muhammad Bilal Abdu [Margot Dudkevitch, The Jerusalem Post, 2004/03/24] , born 1987Dubious|date=March 2008) is a Palestinian, from Masahiya neighborhood in Nablus, who made international headlines on March 24 2004, when he entered the Hawara Checkpoint in the West Bank, with 8 Kilograms (18lbs) of explosives strapped to his body as part of a suicide attack attempt.


The incident

Abdo, then aged 14, approached the checkpoint running towards the soldiers, wearing 8 Kilograms (18lbs) of explosives on a vest with the activation switch in his hands. When the Israeli soldiers noticed something suspicious about the boy, they directed their weapons at him and he became startled and raised his arms without detonating the belt. He was then ordered to raise his shirt and the explosives belt was discovered. After all the people were ordered to safety, a specialized Bomb disposal robot was sent to him with a pair of scissors, so that he could cut off the explosives, all the while telling soldiers that he did not want to die. He was then searched for more bombs but none were found and the bomb taken from Abdo's vest was later exploded at a safe area. The commanding officer at the checkpoint noted that it is possible that the boy tried to activate the explosive belt but that "it did not work".

Media reported that Abdo said he was offered 100 NIS and promised sex with the promised virgins and Israeli security forces added that in the inquiry it was found that Abdo was unpopular among his fellow students and that his friends would mock him. Fatah's military wing of Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades from the Balata refugee camp in Nablus ( _he. שכם) took responsibility for the sending of the boy. [ [,7340,L-2893762,00.html '"Explosives boy" to the soldiers: I came to explode because they offered sex' by Efrat Weiss (Ynet)] ] When asked on Israeli television to give the reason for his attempted attack, Abdo said "because of the people". When this was repeated back to him in the form of a question, he responded, "they don't love me". He was then asked by a reporter if he also thought about paradise, and nodded his head. [ [ 'Israeli TV - 14 year old Suicide Bomber' by Channel 2 (VIDEO)] ] The Jerusalem Post quoted Hussam as saying his handlers told him that blowing himself up is the only chance he'd have at sex with 72 virgins in the Garden of Eden.cite news |url= |title='Little bomber' fascinates Israeli media |publisher=Jerusalem Post as reported by BBC News |date=2004-03-25 |accessdate=2007-04-26]

"ABC News" connected the incident with the Israeli killing of Ahmed Yassin, founder of Hamas (e.g. Fatah rivals), in Gaza and to the death of 12 year old Muhammad al-Dura three years before. They noted that in the battle of images, the amazing scene of the young suicide bomber willing to kill himself and others was immediately seized by the Israeli officials who, hours after the incident, presented the boy to the media while forbidding foreign journalists from speaking to him.cite news|title=Israelis Thwart Palestinian 'Boy Bomber'|publisher=ABC News|date=2004-03-25|url=]

"The Age" reported that Hussam said, in an interview, that after years of bullying by classmates, he wanted to reach the paradise he had learned about in Islamic teachings.cite news|title=Angry uncle leads uproar on the hesitant boy bomber|publisher=The Age|date=2004-03-27|url=]


On July, 2004, three months after the incident, the BBC were allowed an interview with Abdo in an Israeli jail in which he detailed the trail of mission. He said he was recruited by his friend Nasser, a 16 year old classmate who approached him asking Abdo would find him a "martyr bomber", to which Abdo replied he'll do it. Abdo was then taken to Wael, a 21 year old member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades who took him to a third militant who put the bomb belt on the boy and both took pictures of him. Abdo described his feelings towards the people who sent him as 'normal' and noted that one of them is also in prison and that they are friends. When asked about the reasons for the attack, Abdo stated it was because his friend was killed and also because he desired to be relieved of school. [cite news|title='Nobody is going to live forever'|publisher=BBC|author=James Reynolds|date=2004-07-26|url=]

In the documentary "The Making of a Martyr," Abdo was interviewed a year and a half after his attempted suicide bombing. He expressed no remorse and in fact seemed closer to the terrorists with whom he was incarcerated. He regretted not being in an explosion and remembered his failed attempt with joy, saying "When they drove me to the checkpoint, I was giggling and jumping."

Family report

Abdo's mother, Tamam, said "He's a small child who can't even look after himself. He's only 16 . . . He never had a happy childhood. He still hasn't seen anything in life. If he was over 18, that would have been possible, and I might even encourage him to do it. But it's impossible for a child his age to do it." [ [ 'Hamas rejects Palestinian appeal for peace', Khaled Abutoameh (Jerusalem Post)] ] Israeli media described Abdo as a "mentally challenged" boy while his brother, Hosni, said that Abdo "has the intelligence of a 12 year old."cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Teen Bomber Stopped At West Bank | date=2004-03-24 | publisher=CBS | url = | work =CBS News | pages = | accessdate = 2007-10-09 | language = ] Abdo's family criticized the Israeli Defense Forces for "parading" the boy in front of international reporters.

Abdo's uncle Khalil was extremely upset for the exploitation of a troubled and vulnerable child, he said that if he found out who sent his nephew out as a suicide bomber, he'd gladly kill the dispatcher himself.

In media

Hussam Abdo's story, and that of the child suicide bombing phenomenon in the Palestinian Territories, was captured in the award-winning documentary "The Making of A Martyr", by Brooke Goldstein and Alistair Leyland.

Husam was interviewed by Pierre Rehov for making of his documentary Suicide Killers where Rehov studies the psychopathology behind Muslim terrorism, and why some Muslim parents are willing to offer their children as martyrs. [ [ CBN News - Focus- Inside the Mind of a Suicide Killer ] ]

According to Shafiq Masalha, a clinical psychologist who teaches at Tel Aviv University's education program, 15 percent of Palestinian children dream of becoming suicide bombers. [ [ The Children's Crusade - ] ]

According to Eyad Sarraj, Palestinian psychiatrist and director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, a survey his group made found that 36 per cent of Palestinians over 12 aspired to die "a martyr's death" fighting Israel.

See also

* Child suicide bombers in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
* Islamist terrorism
* The Making of a Martyr


External links

Multimedia - video

* [ "The Making of a Martyr" on AOL] , "( [ Trailer Video] )"
* [ Making of a Martyr on 'CNN The Situation Room' (hosted on youtube)] , CNN, retrieved on: 20.1.2008.


* [ 'IDF apprehends 14-year-old suicide bomber' By Amos Harel and Arnon Regular] , Haaretz, retrieved on: 20.1.2008.

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