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Posted: 4/27/2002 5:35:50 AM EDT
[size=4]Gaza Police Say They Intercepted 20 Boy Attackers[/size=4] April 26, 2002 05:10 PM ET By Nidal al-Mughrabi GAZA (Reuters) - Palestinian security forces in the Gaza Strip have intercepted around 20 youngsters planning assaults on Israeli settlements since the deaths of three boy suicide attackers Tuesday, a senior official said Friday. Amin al-Hindi, chief of Palestinian General Intelligence, said his men were on high alert to stop copycat attackers who he said were bent on avenging Israel's military action in the West Bank. "No one, under no circumstances should be allowed to waste the lives of our children," Hindi told Reuters. He said around 20 would-be boy assailants had been detained and sent home. Among them were five youngsters who had their photos taken in front of a poster of Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine in Arab East Jerusalem seized by Israel in the 1967 war. They had written notes to their families telling them they were heading to die as "martyrs" in attacks on Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip. Israeli troops Tuesday shot dead three 14-year-old boys armed with home-made pipe bombs, an ax and knives outside a Jewish settlement in the strip. Another 14-year-old was killed in similar circumstances last week. The boys' gesture of resistance to occupation has deeply disturbed some community leaders who fear other youngsters might emulate their quest for "martyrdom." [b]Hindi said he had found no links between the boys and militant groups, but had raised the issue with their leaders.[/b] "I expect that no faction will allow this to happen but we agreed that we all need to work together in order to end the phenomenon," he said. Officials from various Palestinian factions, who met in Gaza Thursday, urged Muslim preachers and teachers to work on restraining the suicidal impulses of the children. SCHOOL NOT SUICIDE Islamic Jihad and Hamas, which have claimed responsibility for many suicide bombings against Israelis, have issued separate statements urging children to focus on their school work. "The battle with the enemy is still very long. Children have to be patient and wait until they get older, until they become able to fight," said Abdullah al-Shami, an Islamic Jihad leader. At least 15,000 people marched in Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza Strip after Friday prayers, vowing to pursue the 19-month-old uprising against Israeli occupation. Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi, a senior Hamas official, used the occasion to tell children to stay away from Jewish settlements. "I call on our children, who love God and who love Hamas, not to go to settlements," he said. Ordinary Palestinians have voiced dismay at the trend and some blamed militant groups for inciting young boys. One woman, who identified herself only as Um Mohammad, said such groups should be aware that children can easily be swayed by campaigns praising martyrs, and by marches at which militants sometimes give boys their assault rifles to pose for cameras. See article at:[url]http://www.reuters.com/news_article.jhtml?type=worldnews&StoryID=889360[/url] 'Eyeless in Gaza' by Aldous Huxley (1936), taken from a line in 'Samson Agonistes' by John Milton (1671). Eric The(Literate)Hun[>]:)]
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