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Woman suicide bombers are dying to kill Israelis

May 22, 2007

The suicide sisters ready to die for their country

22nd May 2007

Clad head to toe in black and clutching sub-machine guns and automatic rifles, they vowed to die killing Israelis.

The women, at once sinister and yet awkward in their long dresses and munitions belts, say they will blow themselves up in attacks on Israeli soldiers if the Gaza Strip is invaded.

They gathered as Israel pounded the Strip with airstrikes yesterday - in response to weeks of rocket attacks from Palestinian fanatics.

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Death wish: Holding up their guns and hidden behind their veils, the women pledge their lives as suicide bombers. In front of them are rockets like those which have plagued Israel

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"If the Israelis try to invade northern Gaza Strip, we will defend our land and our homes," one of the women declared as the group gathered at the Jabalya refugee camp north of Gaza City.

"We will turn our bodies into living bombs against the Israeli army," she added and demanded revenge against Israeli "crimes" carried out against the Palestinians.

The women belong to the military wing of Palestine's ruling Hamas party.

A day earlier rival militants of Islamic Jihad released a video in which dozens of women said they were "eagerly awaiting" the chance to become suicide bombers.

One said she would like to be the first to commit suicide on behalf of the Palestinian resistance.

Four Islamic Jihad gunmen were killed in their car as Israeli aircraft struck back at the fanatics.

Weapons stores were also struck. Islamic Jihad, which has carried out hundreds of rocket attacks and suicide bombings in recent years, threatened "earthshaking" revenge.

The barrage of Palestinian rockets continued unabated. At least 12 rockets were fired at Israel yesterday, the military and Israeli media said, bringing the total over the past week to more than 150.

In the town of Sderot a woman of 35 was killed when a rocket hit her car yesterday evening.

At least 14 other people have been injured by the homemade rockets over the past week, according to medical officials.

Sderot has been particularly hard hit and yesterday's strike came during a meeting in the city between Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

Thousands of residents have fled the city.

"No nation would tolerate the consistent rocketing of its citizens, and neither will Israel," said David Baker, an Israeli government spokesman.

"We will continue to take whatever steps are necessary to bring these attacks to an end and to prevent terror from being inflicted upon the residents of Sderot and the western Negev."

Hamas militants went underground, fearing more Israeli reprisals similar to the attack on a house on Sunday which killed eight relatives of a Hamas legislator.

They were instructed by their leaders to avoid using mobile phones or travelling by car.

More than 40 Palestinians have been killed since Israel decided last week to start responding to the rocket attacks.

There were calls among politicians yesterday to start targeting the political leaders of Hamas.

U.S. Ambassador Richard Jones urged Israel to do its best to avoid harming civilians.

British travellers in Israel were warned against going within three miles of the Gaza Strip, because of the danger from rockets.

Gordon Brown was yesterday urged to stand firm against domestic political pressures and maintain troop numbers in Iraq.

Iraqi foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari said progress was being made in Iraq since the latest security crackdown began in mid-February, but it was important there were no signs of weakness with coalition forces.

He said he was confident there would be no "dramatic changes" when Mr Brown take over as Prime Minister.

He spoke as another British soldier was killed in a convoy attack in Basra. The un-named soldier's death brings the total number of British military fatalities since the hostilities in Iraq began to 149.

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