Suicide bomber’s mother: “Our children are in heaven, their children are in hell.”
In a farewell videotape before Mahmoud el Abed embarked on a suicidal attack, he sat holding hands with his mother, who prayed for him to become a “martyr” as she conferred her blessing. “May every bullet hit its target,” she said.
When news arrived a day later that her son had died in an attack that killed two Israeli soldiers, Naima el Abed celebrated by ululating and clapping her hands, her friends said.
Her son, age 19, was one of several armed Palestinians who launched a shooting attack against the Israeli community of Dugit in the northern Gaza Strip late Saturday night – one of several attempted attacks on Israeli targets in Gaza over the weekend. The assailants did not succeed in infiltrating Dugit, home to several dozen Jewish families, but the gunbattle also wounded four Israeli soldiers.
The radical Islamic group Hamas today claimed responsibility for the assault.
“Our children are in heaven, their children are in hell,” Naima el Abed said Sunday at her son’s funeral.
In a farewell video that Palestinian suicide bombers and gunmen often make before attacks, Mahmoud el Abed, a slight man with a wispy mustache, urges his friends to pray for him to obtain a place in paradise.
Many Muslims believe that dying in an attack against Israel makes them a “martyr” and will earn them a place in paradise and the ability to nominate friends and family to join them.
The attackers regularly make videos of themselves before an attack, but the inclusion of Mahmoud el Abed’s mother was unusual.
The two sit side by side in white plastic chairs. As Mahmoud el Abed leans toward his mother and tells her he is about to embark on a “martyrdom” operation, she reaches up and puts her arm around him.
“This is the best day of my life. God willing, you will become a martyr and you will be successful. May every bullet hit its target,” Naima el Abed tells her son in the video.
They laughed and joked in the recording, as the son handed his mother an automatic rifle and placed a green Hamas band on her head. They posed for the camera together holding rifles, and Naima el Abed beseeched other Palestinian mothers to encourage their children to follow suit.
She next saw her son at his funeral today.
He was “very dear to me, he is my heart,” she said.
Masked gunmen fired in the air of their Gaza neighborhood and promised that attacks on Israelis would continue.
Palestinians carried el Abed’s body into his modest home and laid him on the floor. His mother knelt beside his body and kissed him. She never cried.
All around her were women, clapping and celebrating his death, while his father Hassan quietly received congratulations. Several of their nine other children handed out candy to visitors.
“I wish all my children would be like him and carry out operations like that,” she said at the funeral. “My message to the Israeli people is that they should leave this land for the sake of their children.”
Naima el Abed said she wished she could carry out an operation like her son, but Hamas would not allow it.
While the appearance of a mother in her son’s farewell video was rare, it was not unprecedented.
Mariam Farhat gave her son Mohammed her blessing to carry out an attack on a Jewish settlement and told a camera she wished she had a hundred sons like him.
Farhat, 19, broke into a study hall at a nearby Jewish settlement in Gaza in March and armed with grenades and automatic rifles killed five Israeli students and wounded 23 people before being shot dead himself. “When I see all the Jews in Palestine killed, that will be enough for me,” his mother said on camera. “I wish he will kill as many as he can, so they will be scared.”
PALESTINIAN CHILDREN WEARING ‘MARTYR NECKLACES’
Palestinian children have traded in their Pokemon cards for a new craze: necklaces with pictures of “martyrs” of the Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation. “I used to have plenty of Pokémons – my school bag was half full of them,” 140year-old Saleh Attiti said. “I threw them all away. They’re not important now. The pictures of martyrs are important. They’re our idols.”