Better Intelligence Foils Israel Suicide Bombers

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Suicide bombings in Israel have been reduced dramatically since 2002, in part because of better intelligence about potential bombers, an Israeli official told a U.S. anticrime conference yesterday. Israel L. Barak-Glantz, chief scientist of Israel’s Ministry of Public Security, drew a packed house at a the U.S. Justice Department’s annual conference on criminal justice research and evaluation. There were 132 suicide bombings in 2002, but the total dropped to 63 last year. There have been 25 so far this year.

Israel “harasses” suspected bombers based on intelligence tips, Barak-Glantz said. “They are on the run.” The controversial wall Israel is building around Jewish settlements on the West Bank probably contributes to the suicide bombing drop, said Boaz Ganor of Israel’s International Policy Institue for Counter Terrorism. Ganor said that some suicide bombers consider their actions as rational; they do not view themselves as committing suicide but going to a “better live in heaven.” Barak described a “cradle to grave” model to analyze the evolution of suicide bombers. Although there is no universal profile, most are single Moslem men under 24, living at a low socio-economic level and having low self-esteem.

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