Suicide bomber with no fingers is free again – Now she is celebrated as a Palestinian icon

Written by Jeppe W

Nov.28 - 2023 11:18 AM CET


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In early 2015, Israa Jaabis, a young Palestinian woman, set out from East Jerusalem in an old Subaru Impreza. She had a gas cylinder filled with propane and a lighter with her.

Near the Jewish settlement of Ma'ale Adumim, she was stopped by a police car. According to the officer's account, Jaabis opened the gas valve and ignited the lighter while shouting "Allah'u'Akhbar," resulting in an explosion.

The explosion left the officer with burns, but Jaabis suffered catastrophic injuries, losing parts of her face, fingers, and sustaining burns on 65% of her body.

Israeli doctors saved her life, and in 2016, she was sentenced to 11 years in prison for attacking an officer.

Jaabis's Defense and Media Attention

Jaabis claimed that the explosion was accidental, not a terror attack. Her case garnered significant media attention in Israel. She became a symbol of Palestinian resistance, with many in Palestine viewing her as a victim of Israeli aggression.

As part of a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas, Israel recently released Jaabis along with other Palestinian prisoners. This swap was in response to Hamas releasing Israeli hostages taken during an attack on October 7.

Despite her conviction, Jaabis's return home was met with significant fanfare in Palestinian communities. However, Israeli authorities, wary of celebrations, heavily monitored and restricted public gatherings.

Jaabis's injuries have left her with severe physical limitations. She called for defiance against Israeli restrictions and criticized the Israeli government for its treatment of her.

Her role in future Palestinian activism remains to be seen, but her release has already become a significant event in Palestinian narratives.

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