Report: Children's & Teenagers' Participation in Terrorism
Israel Government Press Office Thursday, 25 March, 2004
During the Al-Aqsa Intifada there has been an Increase in the Exploitation
of Children and Teenagers by Terrorist Organizations, in order to Perpetrate
Terrorist Attacks against Israeli Citizens and Military Targets
During the Al-Aqsa intifada we have witnessed an evolving phenomenon of
exploiting teenagers and children by various terrorist organizations in
order to perpetrate terrorist attacks, among them suicide attacks against
Israeli civilians and military targets. Children and teenagers between the
ages of 11 and 18 have perpetrated over the past few months' suicide and
other terrorist attacks, as a result of which innocent Israeli civilians
have been killed and injured. Israeli Security Forces caught a considerable
amount of these teenagers and children, prior to their perpetration of the
terrorist attacks. Terrorist organizations exploit the innocent look that
children and teenagers have, which does not arouse suspicion and therefore
they are able to fit in, in populated areas. In addition, these children and
teenagers have not yet reached adulthood and are therefore more susceptible
to the terrorist organization's influence and recruitment of suicide
The children and teenagers who are supposed to dream and hope for a better
future and who are supposed to possess innocence and happiness are sucked
into the reality of killings and hate. The terrorist organization which
occupy themselves with convincing the children and teenagers that subsequent
to their death they will receive a life filled with happiness, are actually
uprooting these children from their homes and families by preaching faith
and nationalism and encouraging them to perpetrate terrorist attacks.
Salah Shhade, one of the heads of the Hamas in the Gaza Strip, recently
deceased, expressed on May 26th '02 during an interview on the "Islam On
Line" internet site, in regard to using children in terrorist attacks that
one must train the children well prior to perpetrating a terrorist attack
and to recruit them to a special branch within the organizations military
apparatus in order to instill the Jihad culture and teach them right from
wrong. Expressions such as these represent one of the primary elements in
convincing parent to send their children to perpetrate terrorist attacks.
Ala Saftawi, the chief editor of the Islamic Jihad's "Alastaklal", expressed
on Tehran radio that Gaza Strip residents, especially children, have a high
willingness to die a martyrs death, due to the fact that they have nothing
On June 27th '02 Palestinian television, televised a movie titled "Children
who love the homeland and the martyr's death" during which Dr. Fadel Abu
Hin, a lecturer and psychologist, who spoke about the evolving phenomenon
regarding children's involvement in the Intifada. Abu Hin mentioned that the
word "Shouhada" has a substantial obligation specifically for the
Palestinian child and for the entire Islamic community, and it is not really
putting an end to ones life. Through this action the children are able to be
an active part of the Intifada. Abu Hin produced a poll done in the Islamic
University in April '01, one thousand teenagers were polled in the Gaza
Strip between the ages of 9 - 16 and 49 % have taken an active part in the
Intifada and 73 % claimed they want to be a "Shahid" (Martyr). These
statistics clearly show the extreme transition among the children and
teenagers in the territories, who are easily recruited by the terrorist
organizations in order to perpetrate terrorist attacks. During the interview
the anchorwoman stated that "the children's hearts are not only filled with
fright and apprehension by with a will to achieve the "Shouhada" and that
"The Shouhada has turned out to be a great aspiration for many children who
believe that this is the path to obtain an important status and forever
instill their memory among the nation".
Not only does the Palestinian media incite and effect the children and
teenagers, but the education system and summer camps "brain wash" the
adolescents. The adolescents undergo an Islamic programming which projects
messages of hate and encourage the Jihad against Israel. At the beginning of
July the Islamic Foundation in Gaza started their summer camps called "The
Al-Aqsa Martyrs summer camp". These camps continued until the end of July.
On July 2nd the "Al-Quds" newspaper quoted Sheik Dr. Ahmad Baher, the
chairman of the Islamic Foundation, as saying that the foundation attempted
to keep the summer camps going albeit the ongoing conflict, due to the fact
that they believe to their core in the values the summer camps are
instilling in the children. In addition the Sheik stated that there are tons
of children wanting to participate in the Hamas summer camps where the
children receive uniforms, shoes, notebooks and attention from the camp
organizers. According to the Sheik, non-religious children join the summer
camps due to the vast amounts of attractions that the organization offers.
In addition, he stated that they teach the children the history of Islam, as
the pictures of the "Martyrs" are hanging everywhere, and that way they
instill the "seeds of hate against Israel".
Under political direction and in cooperation with the PA youth office, they
intend to have summer camps whose purpose is inciting the children,
politically recruiting them against Israel and training them to use weapons
in order to perpetrate future attacks against Israel.
An additional phenomenon worth mentioning is the parent's behavior in
allowing their children to dress up as "Martyrs". More and more we are
witnessing the phenomenon that during marches and parades the children
participate while dressing as "Martyrs" do and wearing props similar to
explosive charges and slogans proclaiming their "Martyr" status. Recently,
we discovered a picture of a baby wearing an explosive charge and a band on
his head with a slogan professing his dedication to "Allah". There is no
doubt that this phenomenon has a destructive effect on the education of
these children, who are fed the Jihad culture, making them easy targets to
recruit for perpetrating terrorist attacks.
The Involvement of Children and Teenagers Between the ages of 11-18 in
On July 6th '02 two minors, both 11 years old, were caught by Israeli
Security Forces, near the Dugit outpost. The two observed the outpost while
holding knives. During their interrogations, conducted by the IDF, they
stated that had planned to plant a bomb in the area. One of the youths
stated that he wished to commit suicide and had hoped to be killed by IDF
On the night of April 23rd '02 three Palestinian children, students at a
Gaza school, attempted to infiltrate the Netzarim town, in order to
perpetrate a suicide attack in the town. The three children are Ismail Soubh
Ibrahim Abu Nada 12 years old, Wael Ghazi Moustafa Hamarna 13 years old and
Yousef Bassam Yousef Zakout 14 years old. IDF forces killed the three
adolescents as they attempted to infiltrate the town. On the Hamas Internet
site it was published that on April 24th '02 the three were sent by the
Hamas. They belonged to a Mosque in the Sheik Radwan neighborhood in Gaza,
and due to their special activities they were able to create a terrorist
group among them, where they decided to perpetrate a Jihad against the Jews.
The youths left last will and testaments stressing their desire to die a
martyr's death. An ax and a hedge cutter were found on one of the bodies,
presumably to cut the fence that surrounds the town.
A 13 year old minor, a resident of Tul Karem, suspected as having been
recruited during March '02, by PIJ activists from the Tul Karem area in
order to perpetrate a suicide attack within Israel. The attack was thwarted
due to Israeli Security Forces activity.
Aytham Asad Abu Shoka, 14 years old, a resident of Sheik Radwan/Gaza, killed
by IDF forces near the Dugit outpost, after being identified with an
additional individual near the town's fence. Two pipe bombs, a knife and a
map of the Gaza Strip, on which Israeli towns were marked, were found on his
Fahed Taisir Ali Azazi, 16 years old, a resident of Rafah, was killed at the
beginning of February '02 from IDF fire after he threw a grenade at the
A fifteen year old minor, a resident of Bethlehem, was interrogated at the
beginning of April '02, due to information that indicated she was preparing
to perpetrate a suicide attack. The minor confessed that she planned to
perpetrate a suicide attack with the help of her uncle, a senior Tanzim
activist in Bethlehem. She asked her uncle to recruit her to the Fatah's
Al-Aqsa Brigades, and her uncle agreed. Her uncle asked her to recruit
additional girls from her school into the organization.
Jamil Khalaf Moustafa Hamid, 16 years old, a resident of Bethlehem, was
recruited by the Tanzim. On March 31st '02 he perpetrated the suicide attack
at the Magen David Adom station in the town of Efrat. As a result of the
attack 6 Israeli civilians were injured.
Noura Jamal Mouhamad Ghanem, 16 years old, a resident of Tul Karem, on
February 24th '02 she perpetrated an attempted stabbing of an IDF soldier at
the Taibe check-point near Tul Karem. Noura approached the checkpoint during
the late evening hours, while her son slept in their home, in order to
perpetrate a stabbing attack. The IDF forces fired opened fire during an
"arrest of a suspect" procedure, which ended in the subject's death. The
adolescents last will and testament was found in her home, in which she had
written that she dedicated her terrorist action to her Palestinian brethren
that had been killed during the Intifada. The Fatah took responsibility for
the attempted attack.
A 16 year old minor, a resident of the Askar refugee camp, was arrested in
May '02 while he was riding in a taxi and carrying an explosive charge.
During his interrogation, conducted by the ISA, he confessed that when he
was fourteen he was recruited to the Hamas and he was a member of a small
terrorist group, of which two members were sixteen. The minor stated those
two Hamas activists from his terrorist group had proposed that he perpetrate
a suicide attack, and he agreed. The two introduced him to a Tanzim
activist, a resident of the Askar refugee camp as well, who manufactured an
explosive charge and video taped him while he read his last will and
testament. On the day of his arrest he had a haircut, put on the explosive
charge and met two individuals who transported him to Jenin in a taxi.
During the drive the minor and his escorts were arrested by the IDF.
A 16.5 year old minor, was caught as he was attempting to perpetrate a
suicide attack in the Beit Sha'an area on August 2nd '01. He confessed
during his interrogation, conducted by the ISA, that he had been a member of
an Islamic Jihad terrorist group, in which all the members were ready and
willing to commit a suicide attack. The minor mentioned that another minor
had recruited him, also 16.5 years of age, to perpetrate a suicide attack.
The latter, who turned himself in to Israeli Security Forces in January '02,
confessed during his interrogation, that he had recruited a number of
additional suicide bombers to perpetrate suicide attacks. In addition he was
involved in planning terrorist attacks.
Anwar Ahmad Abd El Khalek Hamed
A resident of Rafah, does not know how to read or write, previously was
involved in using and trafficking drugs, affiliated to the Abu Rish faction
of the Fatah. Anwar was caught when he was 16.5 years old on his
way to perpetrate a suicide attack. Currently, he is 18 years old. During
his interrogation, conducted by the ISA, he confessed that he was on his way
to perpetrate a suicide attack against a caravan, driven by IDF soldiers
along the Gaza coast. The aforementioned attack was planned and directed by
Mouhammad Sinwar, a senior military activists in the Hamas organization in
the Gaza Strip. In addition Anwar confessed, that PFLP activists had
proposed that he perpetrate a terrorist attack against the town of Morag,
during the month of Ramadan.
A 16.5 year old teenager, a resident of the Shati refugee camp in the Gaza
Strip, he was killed on April 16th '02 after being identified by IDF forces
near the town of Dugit. Two pipe bombs and a bottle of gunpowder were found
in his possession. The Hamas took responsibility for the attempted attack.
A 16.5 year old minor, resident of Tul Karem, was arrested on his way to
perpetrate a suicide attack. During his interrogation, conducted by the ISA,
the minor confessed that a Hamas activist from Tul Karem had recruited him,
and proposed that he perpetrate a suicide attack on behalf of the Hamas and
Fatah. In addition, he mentioned that he had spoken before his entire school
class, and announced that he was interested in perpetrating a terrorist
attack and he may not return. The minor requested that his classmates leave
his seat empty and place flowers on his chair every day. Subsequently, the
minor met with Mouhammad Shreim, a Tanzim activist from Tul-Karem, who told
him he had an explosive charge and he wanted to send the minor to perpetrate
a suicide attack within Israel. The minor agreed. Mouhammad supplied him
with the explosive charge and directed him to perpetrate the attack against
a populated bus. Mouhammad videotaped the minor while he was holding a Koran
and taking responsibility for the attack on behalf of the Hamas's "Iz-A-Din
Al-Qassam Brigades" and the Fatah's "Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigades". Mouhammed
had written a last will and testament for the minor. Israeli Security Forces
near Tira arrested the minor in February '02, while he was on his way to
perpetrate the terrorist attack. During the course of the arrest the minor
attempted to detonate the explosive charge, however it did not explode.
Issa Abd Raba Ibrahim Badir, 17 years old, a resident of Doucha / Bethlehem,
on May 22nd he perpetrated the suicide attack in Rishon Le'tzion, as a
result of which 2 Israeli citizens were killed and over 30 injured. Issa was
directed by the Fatah military infrastructure in Bethlehem, headed by Ahmad
Moughrabi, who was arrested by Israeli Security Forces on May 27th '02.
Ahmad's sixteen-year-old brother, was with him at the time of the arrest,
and was arrested along with his brother. Ahmad confessed during his
interrogation, that he directed his brother to pay a suicide bomber and to
obtain a stolen car in order to perpetrate the suicide attack. The teenager
confessed that he knew the suicide bomber and that he had video taped the
terrorists prior to their perpetration of the attack.
Saed Wadah Awawda, 17 years old, perpetrated the terrorist attack at the
hitch hiking stop in French Hill, Jerusalem on June 19th '02. As a result of
the attack 7 citizens were killed and 37 injured. On the "Al-Manar"
television station, the "Mourabitun Brigades" took responsibility.
Jihad Gawdat Mouhamad Jarrar
A resident of Hashmiya / Jenin, a student, he was 17 years old when he was
caught on his way to perpetrate a suicide attack in Afula on behalf of the
Islamic Jihad. He is currently 18 years old. Jihad was arrested on July 11th
'01, while he was carrying a bag that contained an explosive charge in it.
During his interrogation, conducted by the ISA, he confessed that since he
was 12 when he started thinking of perpetrating terrorist attacks, he
contemplated perpetrating a shooting attack against Israeli soldiers.
Approximately three years ago he manufactured an improvised rifle and
purchased ammunition. Jihad then told his uncle, an Islamic Jihad activist,
that he wished to join the organization and his uncle introduced him to
Thabet Mirdawi, a senior Islamic Jihad activist who was arrested during
operation "Defense Shield". Jihad added that approximately a month and a
half prior to his arrest he met with Mahmoud Nursi, a senior Islamic Jihad
activist in Jenin, who was killed during operation "Defense Shield". Jihad
told Mahmoud that he was interested in perpetrating a suicide attack and the
latter manufactured an explosive charge that he placed in a bag for the
aforementioned. Mahmoud instructed Jihad to travel to Afula and detonate
that explosive charge in a highly populated area. Mahmoud videotaped Jihad
reciting his last will and testament. On the day of his arrest, Mahmoud gave
Jihad the explosive charge and instructed him on how to detonate it. Jihad
traveled in a taxi to Afula, upon his arrival he attempted to detonate the
charge, however he was unsuccessful. He was subsequently arrested.
Imad Farhan Hamran
A resident of Hashmiya / Jenin, he was 17 years old when he attempted to
perpetrate a stabbing attack in Afula, along with Jihad Jarar and an
additional terrorist. He is currently 18 years old. Imad was arrested during
operation "Defense Shield" and confessed during his interrogation that he
had been a member of a terrorist group from his village. The members of this
group were adolescents between the ages of 16 and 18, their goal was to
become "Martyr's". The terrorist group members underwent physical training.
Imad stated that approximately six months ago Jihad Jarar had proposed to
him that he perpetrate a suicide attack. Imad then added that prior to the
IDF's presence in the Jenin refugee camp, he manufactured explosive charges
which he place in the ground and in long pipes along the walls.
Hazem Atta Yousef, 17 years old, a resident of Beit Jala. On July 30th '02
he perpetrated the suicide attack at the Falafel stand on Neve'im street in
Jerusalem, as a result of which 5 people were lightly injured. The Fatah
took responsibility for the attack. Hazem was a high-school student at the
"Talita Komi" high school, which is a private Christian-Lutheran school.
According to his teachers and principle he was a good student. The youth
arrived at Neve'im street, which is located in the center of town, and once
he notices two police officers he panicked and rushed to the entrance of the
falafel stand and detonated the explosive charge he carried on his body. The
police officers described the youth as a clean-shaven boy with jell in his
hair, wearing jeans and a black shirt. He carried a bag in his hand.
A 17.5 year old minor, a resident of Yamoun / Jenin, was arrested at the
beginning of July '02. The adolescent confessed during his interrogation
that approximately a year ago he proposed himself to his friend, an Islamic
Jihad activist, as a possible suicide bomber on behalf of the Islamic Jihad.
The minor's friend told him that could join the organization, however as per
his willingness to commit suicide, he would get back to him. Approximately a
week prior to the suicide attack at the "Magido" junction on June 5th '02,
as a result of which 17 Israeli citizens were killed and 42 injured, the
Islamic Jihad activist proposed that he participate in a car bomb attack.
The minor refused and stated that he was afraid of his parents and that he
was worried that Israel would demolish his home.
A 17.5 year old minor, a resident of Yamoun / Jenin, was arrested in June '
02. The minors confessed during his interrogation that during the summer of
'01 a Tanzim activist proposed that he perpetrate a suicide attack within
Israel, the minor agreed. Half a year later, the Tanzim activist instructed
the youth to meet with Ali Safouri, a senior Islamic Jihad activist in Jenin
who was arrested during operation "Defense Shield", in order that Safouri
would train him to perpetrate the attack. Safouri then gave the youth two
options for perpetrating the attack: firstly, a suicide attack in a
populated area using an explosive charge, secondly, to enter Israel with a
weapon at a civilian population and to perpetrate a shooting attack. The
minor then mentioned that he would prefer to perpetrate a shooting attack,
due to the fact that he would prefer that his body stay whole when he
arrived in heaven. The minor then videotaped himself reciting his last will
and testament while holding a Koran and a rifle. A few days later, the minor
met with Safouri he told him that now was not the time to perpetrate a
terrorist attack and that he should stay in the Jenin refugee camp a die
fighting IDF soldiers. An additional Tanzim activist then proposed that he
perpetrate a shooting attack using a Kalashnikov rifle that he would supply
him with, the youth attempted twice to enter Israel however he was
Tawfiq Hashem Mahamid and Jalal Khalil Mahamid, residents of the Jenin area,
both 17.5 years old when they were killed as a result of an explosion that
occurred in a vehicle near "Mei Ami" on February 8th '02. The two were on
their way to perpetrating a terrorist attack in a Tel-Aviv nightclub, under
the direction of the Islamic Jihad in Jenin.
Ahmad Abd-El Mounem Ahmad Daraghma, a resident of Toubas, was 17.5 years old
when he perpetrated the suicide attack, which took place on October 7th '01,
as he was entering the "Shlichot" kibbutz. As a result an Israeli citizen
Safout Abd-El Rahman Mouhammad Khali, a resident of Beit Wazan / Nablus, was
17.5 years old when on January 25th he perpetuated a suicide attack on eve
Sha'anan street near the old central bus station in Tel-Aviv. As a result of
the blast 23 people were injured. The Fatah's "Al-Aqsa" brigades and the
Islamic Jihad's Jerusalem company took responsibility for the attack.
Bilal Wagia Kamel Walid-Ali, a resident of Yamoun / Jenin, was arrested on
March 8th '02 after he attempted to perpetrate a suicide attack using a
booby-trapped bird cage the day before in the town of Qarkour. Bilal was
arrested three months before he turned 18. During his interrogation,
conducted by the ISA, Bilal confessed that he was a member of the
Palestinian Islamic Jihad and that his cousin, Riad, proposed that he
perpetrate a suicide attack within Israel, after he discovered that Bilal
and his fathers were at odds. Bilal agreed to the proposal. On the day of
the attack Bilal was given a Kalashnikov rifle from Zeid Younes, a Force 17
activist, the presidential guard, he was video taped while taking
responsibility for the terrorist attack. Rabia Abu Roub, a senior Islamic
Jihad activist, from Qabatiya / Nablus then dressed Bilal in the explosive
charge and placed one in the birdcage. Zeid Younes then instructed him in
how to detonate the explosive charges. Bilal was then instructed to detonate
both the charges simultaneously, once he arrives at his target area or in
the event and he is caught. Upon Bilal's arrival in Qarkour, a civilian
identified him and called him to stop. Bilal attempted to flee, and during
the course of his escape left the birdcage behind. Bilal was arrested the
next day, and subsequently interrogated.
Ghassan Mahmoud Naif Steiti, a resident of the Jenin refugee camp, was
arrested on March 31st '02 during the IDF's operations in Rammallah, two
months before he turned 18. During his interrogation, conducted by the ISA,
he confessed that he had been recruited to the Islamic Jihad in Jenin, and
that he had agreed to perpetrate a suicide attack on their behalf. In
December '01 activists from Jenin, who have connections in Rammallah,
proposed that he perpetrate a suicide attack. Subsequently, he left Jenin
for Rammallah in January '02. During his stay in Rammallah he met Abd El
Karim Ouweis, a senior and wanted Fatah activist who turned himself in to
IDF forces during operation "Defense Shield". Ouwies then proposed that he
perpetrate the attack and Ghassan agreed. Ghassan was then videotaped
reciting his last will and testament and taking responsibility for the
attack on behalf of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Ghassan left in order to perpetrate the suicide attack in Tel-Aviv, on his
way he detected combat helicopters, he panicked that they were following him
and postponed the attack. A couple of days later he attempted to travel to
Tel-Aviv in order to perpetrate the attack, however the road was blocked and
he returned to Rammallah. The third time he attempted to perpetrate the
attack, the Palestinian General Intelligence Mechanism arrested him. Israeli
Security Forces during operation "Defense Shield" arrested Ghassan.
The Use of Children's Props in order to Perpetrate Terrorist Attacks
During the course of interrogation, conducted by the ISA, and from findings
discovered during Israeli Security Force operations, it appears as if
various terrorist organizations are using children's toys and props, such as
backpacks and toys, in order to camouflage explosive charges. These props
whose facades are innocent are not classified as suspicious, however they
contain explosive materials and their objective is to injure IDF soldiers
and Israeli Security Forces. For example, during IDF operations in Qalqilya
on April 26th '02 three sabotage laboratories were exposed. These
laboratories contained explosive charges, explosive materials, grenades and
weapons. A child's backpack was found in one of the laboratories, and it
contained explosive devices ready for use.
Camouflaging Terrorist Activity near Schools and Kindergartens
During their interrogations, conducted by the ISA, senior activists from
various terrorist organizations stated that they established sabotage
laboratories near schools and kindergartens in order to camouflage their
activity. Consequently, the terrorist organizations are risking Palestinian
children's lives with their own hands. Slaim Haga, a senior Hamas activist
in Samaria who was arrested during operation "Defense Shield", confessed
during his interrogation that he had established a sabotage laboratory near
a school and that activists had camouflaged themselves as students by
carrying backpacks and school books. The lab equipment included tubes, glass
objects, gas masks and raw material used to manufacture explosive devices.
Opening the windows ventilated the laboratories. The site of the laboratory
near the school exposed the children to many dangers such as explosions,
work related accidents while manufacturing explosive material and exposure
to dangerous toxins and materials. In addition, the activists exploited the
innocent facade of children entering and leaving school in order to
camouflage their activities.
In addition Ahmad Moughrabi, a Tanzim activist from Bethlehem who was
arrested on May 27th '02, confessed during his interrogation, conducted by
the ISA, that he situated a sabotage laboratory within the Deheisha refugee
camp, near a kindergarten. Ahmad and other activists would conduct
experiments and manufacture explosive materials in the laboratory.