Woman suicide bomber rejected by Hamas

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The Independent Online

Turned down as a potential suicide bomber by an Islamic militant group because she was a woman, 21-year-old Dareen Abu Aisheh turned to a militia linked to Yasser Arafat's Fatah to get the explosives she needed.

On Wednesday night, the English literature student from Nablus blew herself to pieces at an Israeli checkpoint, wounding three policemen.

Abu Aisheh, a devout Muslim from a poor family, was stopped about 20 miles north-west of Jerusalem as she tried to enter Israel from the West Bank. Challenged by police and soldiers to get out of the car in which she was travelling, she detonated an explosive charge on her body. She was the second woman to blow herself up since the fighting began in September 2000.

"Dareen was always talking about suicide attacks," said Shireen Abu Aisheh, one of her six sisters. She said that her sister had gone to Jamal Mansour, a local leader of the militant Hamas movement, and asked why it didn't use women for suicide bombings as well as men.

"When we run out of men we shall start using women," was Mansour's reply, Shireen said, adding that her sister's response was, "Well, then we'll have to go to Fatah." Fatah's Al Aqsa Brigades, a secular militia, claimed responsibility for Abu Aisheh's attack.