Suicide Attack

Also referred to in the Arabic language and by many Islamist groups as "martyrdom operations." According to such groups, the person carrying out the operation did not commit suicide but rather died as a martyr on behalf of a sacred cause. In most cases, the term is used to refer to militant operations during which the assailant detonates a bomb nearby targeted victims, surrendering his or her own life during the attack. While Palestinian suicide bombers do target Israeli military installations, they most often strike Israeli civilian areas, often in buses and cafes. This tactic began to be widely used starting in 1994, during the tense years of the Oslo Process, employed most often by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. A second, more frequent, slew of attacks began after the start of the Second Intifada, including attacks by the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade in addition to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Some of the suicide bombings that are particularly seared in Israeli memory include two bombings on the #18 bus line in Jerusalem in the winter/spring of 1996 which jointly killed 45 people, a 1996 bombing coinciding with Purim at the Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv which killed 13, a bombing in the Tel Aviv Dolphinarium disco in June 2001, killing 21, and the Passover bombing at a hotel in Netanya, killing 30. Suicide attacks began to subside after 2005. Human rights and other organizations have condemned such attacks, labeling them, in most cases, crimes against humanity. See "Erased In A Moment: Suicide Bombing Attacks Against Israeli Civilians," Human Rights Watch, October 2002.

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