Suicide bombing is a terrorist tactic. Prior to the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in October 1983, the majority of suicide bombers were not Muslim and the majority of such attacks did not take place in the Middle East. Between 1980 and 2000 the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (aka LTTE, aka Tamil Tigers) carried out more suicide attacks, 168, than all other groups combined. .
From 1980 to 2003 however there were 315 suicide attacks, of which only 76 were carried out by the Tamil Tigers. In Iraq there have been 188 suicide bombings since August 2003, according to the Brookings Institute Iraq Index (although some research puts the tally as high as 400.) The deadliest attack by LTTE, in 1996, killed 90 people, far short of the 2,992 killed by al-Qaeda on September 11, 2001.
But it is also employed primarily by Muslims, who believe that blowing themselves up to kill their enemies will grant them admittance into heaven. Suicide bombing is used by Muslims in Iraq against Americans, and in Israel against Jews. Occasionally, it is reported in Saudi Arabia as well.
Suicide bomber: a personal account
The purpose is to instill fear in the heart, to demoralize, to make a point, to hate to oblivion, and to go immediately to Paradise. The method - explosives with pieces of metal, nuts, nails, and screws, packed in a belt hidden by coat or robes. The perpetrators: Old and young men, women, teenagers and young boys, sometimes disguised as religious Jews, Christian tourists, or undisguised Palestinians. The result - lifeless bodies, torn off limbs, great pain for the surviving wounded and the families of the dead, memories till the end of life,and often, the resolve and determination to carry on, to not die, to make the future more secure for those to come after.
Jonathan left home that evening of December 1, 2001, disturbed, and went to meet his teenage friends who were assembling to celebrate the birthdays of two of their twin comrades. They were all on their way to BenYehudah street in Jewish West Jerusalem, a closed to traffic, shop and restaurant area, favortite of the young people on evenings and Sabbaths - filled with music, the smell of Shewarma, and laughter. They arrrived first at side alley restaurant where they celebrated, and then to their dismay, when they had received the bill, found that the extra bread they had ordered by the basketful, did not come free and that they had no money, and as the owner/manager called the police, they all ran out and assembled at the ice cream parlor with tables out in the open, near the crowded end of the Ben Yehuda street, Zion Square. Then it was that they came, two bombers, blowing themselves up, one diagonally across Zion Square, demolishing an auto, but hurting no one but himself, and the other blowing himself up at the tables of the ice cream parlor where the children now were. The owner/ manager of the restaurant from which they ran, would later donate the table where they sat to their families.
Jonathan, though, was not there. Minutes earlier, he does not know why, against his habit, he was always the last one at any party, he agreed to return home at the invite of someone he hardly knew, a classmate whose father was picking her up to drive her home. But that evening, about the time that the bombers had detonated their explosives, Jonathan's mother, without knowing why, and for the first time, entered his bedroom, kneeled at his bed, and prayed, "God, protect my son tonight!"
Israelis are taught at the sound of "Allah hu Akbar!", "God is great!", to throw yoursef down immediately, so that the force of the blast and the shrapnel of metal, nails bolts etc., will pass over you. It does not always work. Whether, the noise of the merrymaking drowned out the call, or there was no call, or the mind could not take it in, metal met flesh and bone, causing dismemberment, blood everywhere, gaping wounds, and cries of pain, and disbelief. Jonathans two best friends, Golan and Asaph were killed immediately, Asaph with his throut cut. All together over ten were killed that night and at the spot, the town of Jerusalem or the State of Israel planted a tree of remembrance, which now soars high, with the wrong date engraved on the plaque bearing the names. Many, of Jonathan's friend ended up in various hospitals, most with broken legs, testament to the fact that "it doesn't always work." One of the twins, had 6 nuts in his brain with all but one being able to be extracted. He is not doing really well even today but is much loved. For months after, the teenagers would visit each other in hospitals, as they themselves were able after their own release, and forged an even closer friendship and, what is called elsewhere, support group. Every year Asaph and Golan are remembered on the right day of their death, and every move we make there is the large, picture to hang on the wall, of a smiling 15 year old Asaph in the yellow shirt with, this time, the correct information - "We shall remember, and we shall not forget, the beloved son and friend, Asaph Avitan, who was murdered for sanctification of the Name, in the terrorist attack at the plaza in Jerusalem on December 1, 2001, May his memory be for a blessing..."
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