In two separate incidents this month, armed Palestinian youths have infiltrated Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip. On Saturday, 14-year-old Ahmad Hamis Ismail Alhanagra and his 17-year-old brother Muhammad Hamis Ismail Alhanagra were apprehended by Israeli Defense Forces after entering the community of Netzarim in the northern Gaza Strip armed with knives. The IDF said that the brothers, who live in the village of Wadi Az, were lightly injured during a confrontation, treated and sent to a hospital.
On Jan. 1, three youths armed with knives tried to infiltrate the community of Elei Sinai, the IDF said. Jihad Gana Abed, 15, Muhammad Atia Douas, 15, and Tarik Ziyad Douas, 16, all from Jabalya refugee camp, were killed by Israeli forces near the community. The IDF said the youths had been sent by the "Popular Resistance Committees," one of the biggest umbrella organizations for terrorists in the Gaza strip.
Senior Israeli security sources said this type of incident has been widely practiced since the beginning of the Intifada, illustrating the "cynical usage of naive children and adolescents by Palestinian terrorist organizations."
Shortly after the Intifada began in September 2000, the Mufti of Jerusalem, the city's highest Muslim religious authority spoke of his admiration for child "martyrs." "There is no doubt that a child [martyr] suggests that the new generation will carry on the mission with determination," Sheik 'Ikrima Sabri told the Egyptian weekly, Al-Ahram Al-Arabi. "The younger the martyr, the greater and the more I respect him," said the Mufti, who was appointed by Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat.
An Israeli video documentary in 1998 showed how Palestinian children are taught to hate Jews, to glorify jihad, violence, death and child martyrdom. A "Sesame Street"-like children's program called the "Children's Club" showed very young children singing songs about wanting to become "suicide warriors" and to take up "a machine gun" to direct "violence, anger, anger, anger" against Israelis. During the show, which features children aged 4-10, one young boy sings, "When I wander into Jerusalem, I will become a suicide bomber." Afterward, other children stand to call for "Jihad! Holy war to the end against the Zionist enemy."