July 8, 2004 Special Dispatch No. 741

Hamas Spokesman on UAE TV Program: On the Recruitment and Training of Palestinian Suicide Bombers

July 8, 2004
Palestinians, The Gulf, United Arab Emirates | Special Dispatch No. 741

Al-Majd TV, a United Arab Emirates religious channel, hosted Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, and Faraj Shalhoub, an expert on Palestinian affairs, to discuss the recruitment and training of Palestinian suicide bombers. This episode was translated by the recently initiated MEMRI TV Monitor Project.The following are excerpts from the program, which can be viewed at [1]

Moderator: "How are the martyrdom bombers selected? How are they recruited and prepared mentally, and morally?"

Faraj Shalhoub: "I want to talk about recruiting, before I talk about the selection. The level of faith among a wide sector of the young believers instills in them the concept of Jihad, true Jihad in defense of the message, the homeland, the people, and the nation. They are committed even before they reach the fighting stage. They are committed to their cause and draw their belief in it from the mosque.

"The other issue is, as you mentioned, the occupation and its crimes. If you want the truth regarding the selection, I can quote the martyr, Chief Commander of Al-Qassam Brigades, Salah Shehada, who spoke of the dimension of faith of the volunteers for martyrdom. He said that this is one of the central criteria for their selection.

"They volunteer for martyrdom and self-sacrifice for the cause, and the first to be selected are the most believing, whose conviction is the deepest, because they have the greatest chance of persevering to the very last minute.

"The second point is that [the volunteer] must be physically and, in general, capable of carrying out the mission skillfully. A third issue is the human factor and I want to mention this in a nutshell. [The volunteer] cannot be a child of a single parent who provides for the family. This is why most volunteers for martyrdom operations are not married.

"There is also another group of criteria on which we have no time to elaborate, but those mentioned are the main ones."

Moderator: "Let's talk about the physical issue you already mentioned. Doesn't the martyrdom bomber only push a button on the explosive belt and explode? Is there more to it than that? Does he need physical and military preparation for his martyrdom?"

Faraj Shalhoub: "Absolutely. The mental preparation and morale building are on [a] high level, even though most of those volunteering to commit martyrdom operations have already come a long way in mental and morale preparation. As for the physical aspect, some Palestinian factions active in the field of martyrdom have special committees for training and special committees for selection.

"During the first stage of training, there is an emphasis on physical training, as written in special booklets of their military wings. There is a need for physical training because a martyrdom operation, whether the storming of a settlement or an explosion, requires physical strength so the Mujaheed can reach the final stages of the operation."

Moderator: "And special military training…"

Faraj Shalhoub: "It also requires morale preparation and so, he spends some time in religious ritual and intensive spiritual preparation until he reaches a certain level of conviction that pushes him commit martyrdom, regardless of the fact that his mental readiness was high to begin with."

Moderator: "Meaning, in the last stages before committing the martyrdom operation?"

Faraj Shalhoub: "This comes following his decision to commit martyrdom. The volunteers are those who initiate and accept upon themselves to commit a martyrdom operation. There is a widespread misconception, propagated by the Zionist enemy, that there are recruiters among the Palestinian fighters who look for martyrdom bombers. The opposite is true - the martyrdom bombers are the ones looking for the resistance factions in order to commit martyrdom operations.

"We are talking about hundreds of martyrdom bombers waiting in line to commit martyrdom operations. The factions' inability to supply enough operations for all of them is the only obstacle preventing them all from committing martyrdom operations."

Sami Abu Zuhri: "There are hundreds of female martyrdom bombers, who stream en masse and insist on participating in martyrdom operations. This is a unique phenomenon, reflecting the live spirit of Jihad among this people.

"This is our way of emphasizing… These are living examples of this people's adherence to Jihad and resistance. We want to reassure our Arab and Islamic nation that there is no longer any danger for the path of resistance.

"We see this stream of young men and of women seeking martyrdom. This people emphasizes its adherence to the option of martyrdom, especially, in light of the models of female martyrdom bombers.

"The Palestinian resistance, at times, purposely uses women in some operations that men cannot carry out, especially in high security areas, which male Palestinian Mujaheedin cannot easily reach. This is why the Palestinian woman has an important role in the Palestinian resistance, and at times she may even have roles that the young male Palestinian Mujaheed cannot fulfill."

[1] Al-Majd TV (UAE), June 13, 2004. This is clip #117 and can be found at

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