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January 14: This Suicide Bomber Was a Mommy

Lawrence Bush
January 14, 2017
Reem Riyashi, 21, mother of a three-year-old son and eighteen-month-old daughter, became the first woman used by Hamas as a suicide bomber when she blew herself up at Gaza's Erez crossing, a border checkpoint, on this date in 2004, killing four Israelis and wounding seven others as well as four Palestinians. The IDF reported that when Riyashi reached the metal detector at the terminal, she feigned a disability and claimed to have metal plates in her leg. Taken into a building for a body search, she detonated a two-kilogram bomb. Since age 13, she said in her martyrdom video, she had dreamed of turning "my body into deadly shrapnel against the Zionists . . . God has given me two children. I love them [with] a kind of love that only God knows, but my love to meet God is stronger still." The Palestinian press sharply criticized Hamas for the action, as did Riyashi's brother-in-law, Yusuf Awad: "I denounce her attack . . . I support peace." However, numerous Arabic newspapers outside Palestine applauded the attack. To watch Riyashi's video, look below. "This destroys our life, our work and our future. It never occurred to us that she would do such a thing. If she had mentioned it I would have prevented her, because of the children."--Yusuf Awad

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.