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MISSION FIRST…PEOPLE ALWAYS…ONE TEAM. Suicide Bomber Boy. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/25/international/middleeast/25BOY.html?th. The Israelis Disarm a Boy With a Bomb.

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suicide bomber boy

MISSION FIRST…PEOPLE ALWAYS…ONE TEAM

Suicide Bomber Boy

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/25/international/middleeast/25BOY.html?th

the israelis disarm a boy with a bomb
The Israelis Disarm a Boy With a Bomb

With a bomb hidden under his sweater, a Palestinian boy in his teens, Hussam Bade, approached Israeli soldiers on Wednesday at the same West Bank checkpoint, near Nablus, where last week another boy was captured with a bomb in his bag.

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The soldiers ordered the youth to remove the vest, and then strip to show that he had no other weapons.

ny times article excerpts
HAWARA CHECKPOINT, West Bank, March 24 — When the Palestinian teenager in a red sweater and blue jeans reached the front of the long line and began approaching the Israeli soldiers at this West Bank checkpoint on Wednesday, he immediately aroused suspicion.

The soldiers were on high alert. Just last week, troops at this same checkpoint, on a main road leading south from the chaotic city of Nablus, captured an 11-year-old boy with a bomb hidden in his bag.

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On Wednesday, the soldiers suspected that the youth had something under his sweater and responded immediately, pointing their automatic rifles at Hussam Abdo, who later gave his age as 14, while his family said he was 16.

Palestinian teenagers have taken part in attacks against Israelis throughout the three and a half years of fighting. The youngest suicide bomber to date was a 16-year-old from Nablus.

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In the propaganda battle that is always a component of the Middle East conflict, Israel is swift to highlight the Palestinian use of youths barely in their teens. In this case much of the drama was recorded by an Associated Press Television News cameraman, a Palestinian, who was among those waiting to cross the checkpoint.

With the soldiers' guns pointed, Hussam froze, raising his hands above his head. The soldiers retreated behind large concrete barricades for safety, according to accounts by Israeli military officers at the scene.

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Hussam was then ordered to remove his sweater, which revealed a gray vest with explosives packed inside, the kind that is standard issue for Palestinian suicide bombers, the military officers said.

As the rest of the story unfolded, it was captured on tape by the cameraman.

The military sent a small yellow robot toward Hussam, delivering cutters to remove the vest. But the weight of the vest and the explosives, estimated at 15 to 20 pounds, made it awkward for him to bend over, reach the scissors and cut away the straps of the vest.

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A wire believed to be a detonator cord dangled in front of his chest. Hussam called for soldiers to help, saying he did not want to blow himself up. But they remained in their fortified positions, shouting orders.

Hussam struggled but eventually freed himself from the vest and dropped it on the road. The soldiers then ordered him to strip to his underwear to make sure he had no other weapons. He was seized by the soldiers, who later detonated the bomb in a controlled explosion.

Israeli military and government officials immediately invited journalists to the scene and then placed Hussam on display for several minutes.

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"This is another example of the Palestinians' cynical use of innocent children, turning their kids into human time bombs," said David Baker, an official in the office of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. "Palestinian terrorists are ready to sacrifice their own children for the express purpose of inflicting terror upon Israelis."

Throughout the conflict a solid majority of Palestinians has backed suicide bombings as a means for fighting Israel. The level of support has declined a bit as the fighting grinds on, and some Palestinians have spoken out against the use of teenagers.

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tom rudd i corps and fort lewis fp at officer ruddthom@lewis army mil

Tom RuddI Corps and Fort Lewis FP/AT Officerruddthom@lewis.army.mil