The Changing Face of the Suicide Bomber: Palestinian Youth

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The face of a Palestinian suicide bomber has changed over the past several months. Four suicide attacks have been carried out by women, and late last month, three youths — a 15 year-old and two 13 year-olds — were shot to death as they tried to carry out an attack on the Netzarim Jewish settlement in Gaza.

In response to public outrage over the death of the boys in the attempted Netzarim attack, Hamas issued a statement discouraging young people from becoming suicide bombers. But skeptics point out that the glorification of suicide bombers by Hamas leaders and Arab media make it likely that children will continue to pursue this path — and that no child could get the explosives necessary to attempt such an attack without Hamas backing.

This hour, we look inside the minds of young Palestinian suicide bombers with one of Gaza's leading mental health professionals, Eyad Al Sarraj. What drives young Palestinians to give up their own life in a suicide attack?


Bruce Hoffman, director of RAND Corporation's Washington Office and the author of "Inside Terrorism"

Eyad Al Sarraj, founder and director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme in Gaza Strip

Scott Anderson, contributor to The New York Times Magazine, author of an article in this week's magazine "An Impossible Occupation"

This program aired on May 13, 2002.


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