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Where are the Koran appologists on this one?

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Mom: Shame on Hamas!

Says it might be OK if bomber/son was 18




Hussam Abdu

An Israeli soldier checks the bookbags of Palestinian schoolgirls in West Bank town of Hebron yesterday as they head home.

The mother of a would-be Palestinian boy bomber said yesterday he was too young to die, as the militants found themselves under fire for sending kids on suicide missions.

"If he were older than 18 years old, then maybe," Hussam Abdu's mother, Tamam, said. "Maybe I would even encourage him. But sending this boy - it is not acceptable."

Abdu's uncle, Halil Abdu, said militants exploited the 16-year-old by giving him $22 and promising him 72 virgins in paradise if he blew up Israeli soldiers.

"If someone gives a boy something like this, I don't believe he has any sense at all," he said. "He is a crazy person. How can you give a boy that age an explosive belt?"

Abdu lost his nerve Wednesday when soldiers at a checkpoint near the city of Nablus spotted him and drew their guns. After stripping to his underwear, he was given scissors to cut off the bomb-laden vest.

Soldiers looking for Abdu's handlers arrested three Palestinian teens yesterday at the Omar Ben al-Hatab school in Nablus, which the would-be bomber attended, Palestinian sources said.

In an interview with newspaper Yediot Achronot, Abdu said he learned of paradise from his teacher.

"He told us about the life of pleasure that waits there: a river of honey, a river of wine and 72 virgins," he said. "Since I have been studying Koran I know about the sweet life that waits there."

Abdu's family was joined in its condemnation of militants by the Nablus Coordinating Committee, a popular social services organization that issued an official call to keep kids out of "the circle of violence."

The criticism is unusual because many Palestinians revere suicide bombers as "martyrs."

Yesterday, more than 60 prominent Palestinian intellectuals tried to build on the growing disgust over the Abdu incident by publicly asking their people not to retaliate for Israel's assassination of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, founder of the murderous group Hamas.

Ido Aharoni, spokesman for the Israeli consulate in New York, was not impressed.

"If they're truly interested in improving the situation, they should urge their leadership to crush Hamas," he said.

In the United Nations yesterday, the United States vetoed a Security Council resolution that would have condemned Israel for killing Yassin. U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte called the measure one-sided and said it ignored Hamas' brutal record of terrorism.

Originally published on March 26, 2004

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