Palestinian Woman Bomber Bows Out of
By Megan Goldin
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JERUSALEM (Reuters) -
Thauriya Hamamreh changed her mind about carrying out a
suicide bombing when
orders to disguise herself in provocative clothes for the attack
in Jerusalem made her do some soul-searching.
The petite, head-scarfed 25-year-old Palestinian woman
told her story to Israeli journalists from a prison cell
where she has been kept since Israeli forces arrested her on May
Hamamreh, a devout Muslim, said her handlers in the al-Aqsa Martyrs
Brigades, an armed group linked to
President Yasser Arafat Fatah faction, wanted her to
disguise herself as a modern Israeli woman so she
would not raise suspicion.
"They wanted me to have my hair loose, wear sun glasses and
makeup and tight clothes. I said no
because it's against my religion," the Maariv newspaper quoted her on
Thursday as telling reporters.
A day before the planned attack, Hamamreh began
pondering the "righteousness" of the task and whether
she would be accepted as a martyr in paradise because she volunteered
mostly for personal reasons,
including feelings of social isolation after being rejected by a man she
had hoped to marry.
"I started thinking that I would be killing babies,
women and sick people and imagined what it would be like if
my family were sitting in a restaurant and someone bombed them," she
Hamamreh skipped the transportation that had been
arranged to take her from the West Bank city of Nablus
to Jerusalem and instead went to her aunt's house in Tulkarm where
Israeli troops, acting on intelligence
information, arrested her.
If she had gone through with the attack, she would have
been part of a growing trend of Palestinian women
opting to become suicide bombers in a 20-month-old uprising against
Four Palestinian women have carried out suicide bombings
including Wafa Idrees, a medic whom relatives
said wanted to avenge Israel's killing of Palestinians. Idrees's
husband had divorced her for not being
able to have children.
"They think what they are doing is something that will
contribute positively to the liberation of their country,"
said Palestinian sociologist Nader Said from Bir Zeit University.
"These women are fed up with occupation, it's an
everyday ordeal for them and they can do nothing
Idrees killed an 81-year-old man who was on his
way to buy paints for his art hobby at a store in Jerusalem
the age of 5, Malika Oufkir, eldest daughter of
General Oufkir, was adopted by King Muhammad V
of Morocco and sent to live in the palace as
part of the royal court. There she led a life
of unimaginable privilege and luxury alongside
the king's own daughter. King Hassan II
ascended the throne following Muhammad V's
death, and in 1972 General Oufkir was found
guilty of treason after staging a coup against
the new regime, and was summarily executed.
Immediately afterward, Malika, her mother, and
her five siblings were arrested and imprisoned,
despite having no prior knowledge of the coup
were first held in an abandoned fort, where
they ate moderately well and were allowed to
keep some of their fine clothing and books.
Conditions steadily deteriorated, and the
family was eventually transferred to a remote
desert prison, where they suffered a decade of
solitary confinement, torture, starvation, and
the complete absence of sunlight. Oufkir's
horrifying descriptions of the conditions are
mesmerizing, particularly when contrasted with
her earlier life in the royal court, and many
graphic images will long haunt readers.
Finally, teetering on the edge of madness and
aware that they had been left to die, Oufkir
and her siblings managed to tunnel out using
their bare hands and teaspoons, only to be
caught days later. Her account of their final
flight to freedom makes for breathtaking
reading. Stolen Lives is a remarkable book of
unfathomable deprivation and the power of the
human will to survive.
The existence of her child
was all the evidence the judge
"We uphold your conviction
of death by stoning
by the Sharia" (Iislamic law).
An Islamic appeal court has upheld a sentence of death by
stoning for adultery against a Nigerian woman.
Amina Lawal, 30, was found guilty by a court in Katsina state,
bearing a child outside marriage.
(BBC Aug. 19. 2002)
In her defense, lawyers used the notion of
pregnancy", arguing that under Sharia
law, a five year interval is possible between human conception and birth.
Anousheh Ansari, before
Launch to the International Space Station, at Baikonur Cosmodrome, abord the
Soyuz spacecraft: First female tourist, first female Muslim, and first Iranian
(Shamil Zhumatov / Reuters)
FEMALE SUICIDE BOMBERS
Said said some of the suicide bombers, men and women, were socially
isolated -- such as one bomber who suffered from epilepsy -- and were
trying to gain social acceptance.
"Many of them feel powerless in all other aspects of their life
but now...they can change reality, they can prove to their mothers and
fathers and schoolteachers that they are worth something," he told
An 18-year-old female bomber killed an Israeli teenager and a
security guard when she blew herself up on March 29 at a Jerusalem
supermarket. Another blew herself up prematurely at an Israeli roadblock
and the fourth woman bomber killed six people at a Jerusalem market
earlier in the month.
Hamamreh, a dressmaker and florist, was sent to Nablus for training
before the attack. She was taken to an empty apartment where she and two
other suicide bombers were fitted for their bombs and taught how to
activate the detonator.
Her bomb was so heavy -- containing 35 pounds of explosives and stuffed
with cloth-filled bags of metal pieces -- that the petite woman
struggled to carry the weight, Maariv quoted her as saying.
"It reached from my waist to my chest," she told the newspaper. The bomb
was supposed to be hidden in a student's backpack and Hamamreh was
instructed to find a crowd of people as quickly as possibly and blow
herself up, the paper said.
Her operators told her if she thought she was under suspicion she
should blow herself up to avoid being captured and interrogated, she
told the newspaper.
Hamamreh, who looked much younger than her age in newspaper photographs,
also had advice for would-be female bombers.
"Women who want to wage Jihad (holy war) should start a family
and have children," she told the newspaper.
Does economic development lead to gender equality?
Look at the
figure above, summarizing attitudes toward
gender in three types of societies:
Women seem to
do better in general with increased
development but there are notable outliers.
Japanese women, for example, lag far
behind those of Peru.
The data summarize work by U.S. political
scientists Ronald Inglehart and Pippa Norris
and are featured in an article in the June
2005 issue of Scientific American.
Amnesty International: "In Iran, stoning a person to death is
not against the law -- using the wrong stone is."
Stoning for Adultery
This scene is from a movie.
What happens in real stonings?
The victims' hands are tied behind their backs and their bodies are put
in a cloth sack. Then, this human "package" is buried in a hole, with
only the victims' heads showing above the ground. If it's a woman, she is
buried up to her shoulders. This is to give her a supposed chance to escape.
After the hapless person has been secured in the hole, people start
chanting "Allah hu Akbar" "God is great", and throw palm
sized stones at the head of the victim from a distance (a circle
had been drawn).
Rajabi Sahaaleh was a 16-year-old schoolgirl from the town of Neka,
Iran who was executed in August 2004, a week after being sentenced to
death by Haji Rezai, head of Neka's clerical court on charges of
adultery and "crimes against chastity".
Rezai, who served as the prosecutor and judge in the case carried out
the execution of the teenager himself by placing the noose round
Atefeh's neck before she was hoisted on a crane telling her “This will
teach you to disobey!”
U.S. military bomb technician retrieves the hair of a suicide
bomber after an attack in Baqouba, 60 km. northeast of Baghdad.
Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2008. A female suicide bomber detonated an
explosive-laden vest, killing 11 people and wounding 19, Iraqi
( A P p h o t o / M a y a A l
l e r u z z o )
Imam Abdel-Hamid Mask
blew himself up aboard
a Jerusalem bus in 2003, killing 18 people, including five
Yettaw married his first of four wives in southern California.
The marriage, initiated because of pregnancy, lasted only two years;
a subsequent union lasted six years. In the late 1980s Yettaw
converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ( LDS
-- Mormonism). He was attracted to the church because of its belief
that in the afterlife he could be reunited with his entire family.
At a church singles event he met his third wife, Yvonne. They were
married for 12 years, had six children together, and divorced in
2002. During their marriage, they experienced a fire that
destroyed their home.
Yettaw was returned to prison from the hospital after suffering
several seizures. His lawyer has said the American suffers from
epilepsy, diabetes and heart trouble. Yettaw, a Mormon, told the
court God had sent him to warn Suu Kyi
she would be assassinated by "terrorists."