(Communicated by Israeli security sources)
On March 15, 2004, IDF soldiers detained a 12 year-old Palestinian boy, Abdallah Quran, while he was attempting to smuggle a powerful bomb through the Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus. Two Nablus based Fatah-Tanzim terrorists had exploited the boy’s innocent appearance, and used him to carry an fully armed explosive device through the checkpoint. The boy, who works as a porter in the area, told the soldiers that he was unaware that he was even carrying the bomb. The terrorists, members of Arafat’s own Fatah faction, had planned to use the boy as an unwitting suicide bomber, intending to detonate the explosives with a mobile phone as the boy passed near the Israeli soldiers manning the checkpoint.
The IDF soldiers noticed the suspicious looking bag in the boy’s possession, examined it, and found a 7-10 kg explosive charge packed with metal shards and shrapnel. A sapper arrived at the scene and safely detonated the device in a controlled explosion. The boy was questioned and subsequently released.
Yesterday’s foiled attack emphasizes the cynical manner in which terrorist organizations exploit Palestinian children and young people, who can easily pass through crowded areas without arousing suspicion. This practice severely harms the freedom of movement of Palestinian residents who must pass through checkpoints on a daily basis, and further underscores the importance of security checks at the checkpoints.
Since the start of the Palestinian campaign of violence in September 2000, minors have carried out 29 suicide attacks, and since January 2001, more than 40 Palestinian minors have been arrested in thwarted suicide attacks. Since May 2001, 22 shooting and bombing attacks have been executed by minors.
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Excerpt from article by Ben Caspit, Ma’ariv Weekend Magazine
(March 19, 2004)
Peter Dudzik, from the German ARD television network, Dietmar Schumann, from the German ZDF television network, Jorg Bremer from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, Joel Perry from France’s Le Monde, Patrick St.-Paul from Le Figaro, our friend Charles Enderlin from the France 2 television network, Ms. Emma Hurd from Sky, Steve Pearl from The Times, all of you are respected journalists who represent important media. You are colleagues.
Maybe one of you has an idea why, until now (Thursday morning), you haven’t bothered to report to the millions of your viewers/readers about the story of 10-year-old (maybe he was 12-years-old) Abdallah Quran, who was sent by Palestinian “freedom fighters” to carry a deadly bomb through an IDF checkpoint for NIS 5? Is there no public interest in this story? Does it lack spicy details?
How is it, Ms. Hurd from Sky, that when the first rocket hit in Gaza, your network went live, during prime time, for almost seven minutes (a television eternity), without updated pictures (images of Palestinian pedestrians were broadcast), but passed on the story of the Palestinian child bomb? How is it possible to explain the almost total ignoring of this story by the French media? (I understand the Spanish, who reported on the story briefly; they had 200 dead to bury.) AFP devoted 1.25 lines to it somewhere and emphasized that this was a story of doubtful credibility.
And indeed gentlemen, the credibility of the story was not in doubt. IDF checkpoints are a harsh, unsympathetic, phenomenon; they must be covered and reported on and this you are doing. And so are we; ask [Ha’aretz journalist] Gideon Levy. But, on the other side, there is no B’tselem and no anti-terror units; there are people who take 10-year-old boys and send them on their way to our side with NIS 5 in their pocket and a backpack full of explosives. In order to fully understand the checkpoints, from both sides, you must report on it. Whoever doesn’t report, deceives both their public and themselves. If I were in a position of authority here, all of you would now be on a plane home. This is, perhaps, why I’m not in a position of authority here.