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Wednesday, 18 July, 2001, 22:04 GMT 23:04 UK
School trains suicide bombers
Mohammed draws himself as a suicide bomber
A boy draws himself with explosives tied to his body
By Jeremy Cooke in Gaza

The Islamic Jihad is running a summer school - to teach boys the benefits of becoming suicide bombers.

A new generation of children, Palestinian boys aged between 12 and 15 years old, is growing up amid conflict and violence.

Islamic Jihad member Mohammed el Hattab
Teacher Mohammed el Hattab: Suicide bombers go to the highest state in paradise
The militant group has a sworn mission to wage a holy war against Israel.

The boys are told not only that it is good to kill, but also that it is good to die.

They learn that suicide bomb attacks have proved the most deadly way to hit the Israelis.

Part of the revolution

Mohammed, a 14-year-old boy, draws himself with explosives strapped to his body, ready to blow himself to pieces if it means killing Jews.

"Yes," he says, when asked if he wants to be a suicide bomber. "I want to liberate Palestine and be part of the revolution."

Boys train at the Islamic Jihad summer camp
The boys are told that it is good to kill and good to die
The boys are shown pictures of those who have already died in the conflict with Israel.

They are taught that to give their lives is to be guaranteed a place in heaven.

And to be a suicide bomber is one of the highest forms of martyrdom.

They will be greeted in paradise by 70 virgins.

"We are teaching the children that suicide bombing is the only thing that make the Israeli people very frightened. Furthermore, we are teaching them that we have the right to do it," said Islamic Jihad member Mohammed el Hattab, one of the teachers on the programme.

"We are teaching them that after the suicide attacks, the man who makes it goes to the highest state in paradise," he said.

Israelis appalled

For the Israelis all of this is appalling.

They say it is clear evidence that a new generation is being brought up to hate and to kill and they are demanding that it must stop.

Israeli Education Minister Limor Livnat
Limor Livnat: Poisoned minds lead to violence
Israeli Education Minister Limor Livnat told the BBC: "Poisoned pens make poisoned minds, and poisoned minds lead to violence, to terror attacks, to the killing of Israelis."

But the people in Gaza insist that this is a direct response to the Israeli occupation and if and when the Israelis leave Palestinian territory, the children will no longer be taught violence or dream of becoming suicide bombers.


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18 Jul 01 | Middle East
17 Jul 01 | Middle East
13 Jul 01 | Middle East
09 Jul 01 | Middle East
29 Mar 01 | Profiles
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