September 22, 2004: Female suicide bomber kills police in Jerusalem

On September 22, 2004 a female suicide bomber detonated her device in Jerusalem killing 2 policemen and injuring 33 other people

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – The phrase ‘cherchez la femme’ may be steeped in sexist thought but it is nevertheless true that females can be terrorists too.

I am old enough to remember when the ‘women’s liberation‘ movement took off in the 1970s. Women, primarily in the West but elsewhere I imagine, fought against patriarchal attitudes and for equal wages, access to birth control and being treated like the ordinary people they are. To say that our societies have changed – women are no longer confined to the bedroom and the kitchen – for the better is a no-brainer (even if the progress is uneven – look at Afghanistan under Taliban ‘2.0’).

What do we want? What the hell do you THINK we want? What we deserve! (Photo: Unknown author, Public Domain)

When most of you think of terrorism I would imagine the first image to come to your mind when you picture a violent extremist is probably a man – and a bearded one at that. And, it is true that the male half of our species is disproportionately responsible for the vast majority of terrorist acts.

But that does not mean that females are absent.

The Tamil Tigers (LTTE) for one were fervent users of female suicide bombers. And they were not the only ones.

On this day in 2004

A female suicide bomber detonated her device while being examined by police at the French Hill junction in Jerusalem. Two policemen were killed and 33 people were injured. The Palestinian Al-Aqsa Martyrs took responsibility for the attack: the terrorist Р18-year old Zainab Ali Issa Abu-Salem Рhailed from the Askar refugee camp near Nablus. She wore a bag containing an explosive weighing 3-5 kg, to which nuts and bolts were attached to increase the damage.

Most of the time we succeed in thwarting terrorist attacks, but sometimes they succeed, as happened today.

Israeli PM Ariel Sharon

‘Cherchez la femme’ was a stock phrase in detective pulp fiction. It applies to terrorism too.

Read More Today in Terrorism

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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