Sister of suicide bomber 'encouraged him to attack Israeli target'

A week before Omar Sharif left for Israel, his sister Parveen sent him an e-mail telling him to be strong, the court heard. "She was encouraging her brother to go through with the bombing," Jonathan Laidlaw, for the prosecution, said.

Sharif, 27, and Asif Hanif, 21, from Hounslow, west London, hoped to secure a place in paradise for themselves and their families through martyrdom, the prosecution said.

Hanif died detonating his bomb in an Israeli nightclub, killing three and wounding 65. But Sharif's bomb failed to explode so he dumped it and fled. Twelve days later, his body was found in the sea off Tel Aviv, apparently drowned.

The attack was organised and sponsored by the military wing of the Palestinian religious group Hamas, Mr Laidlaw said. Parveen Sharif, 37, a teacher from Derby, denies inciting her brother to commit terrorism. Also accused under the Terrorism Act is her brother Zahid, 38, a businessman from Derby. Both deny failing to disclose information on terrorism.

Mr Laidlaw said Hanif and Sharif were the first British Muslim suicide bombers. They had flown to the Middle East from London in April, considering themselves martyrs to Islam and the struggle of the Palestinians, Mr Laidlaw said. "In killing three innocent people and injuring many others, Hamas had carried out the first successful suicide bombing mission launched from the Gaza Strip and it was the first time Hamas had used non-Palestinian volunteers for a terrorist attack.

Ms Sharif's e-mail is said to have read: "We all have to be firm and focused with reality as time is slipping away and there is really no time to be weak and emotional. It does not matter of consequences to us in this life because we do not fear or allow to be weak.

"When we see you again it will be like only half a day has passed. Stay focused and determined. You have no time for emotions. May Allah take care of us all and join us all soon."

The trial continues.