Good to see rising tech website Pando Daily veering into more general news following its acquisition of Paul Carr’s NSFW Corp. Here Adam Penenberg looks at a New York lawyer’s 10-year battle against the “cash for suicide bombing” industry:
The day before he blew himself up, Bassam Jamal Darwish al-Takruri wore a freshly ironed white shirt, blazer, and shiny shoes, as if he were on his way to a job interview. As he was about to leave home for the last time, his father gave him 10 shekels in pocket money, apparently unaware of his son’s plans.
Takruri, who lived in Hebron, was 18, boyish, thin, and studious – he dreamed of becoming an engineer — with doleful eyes, scratchy eyebrows, and a high, arcing forehead. He traveled to a secret location to record a video announcing his intent to become a “martyr” and offering glory to Allah. “My dear father, my affectionate mother, my dear brothers and sisters, do not say we lost that who is gone,” he said. “If immortality means loss, it is better that you lose me.” He called his death “a cheap price” to pay “for the sake of Allah and Islam,” and begged his family to view it as a day of celebration.
Afterward Takruri met his handler, an operative for Hamas, in Abu Dis, a town bordering Jerusalem and governed by the Palestinian National Authority. It was brushing up against 5 p.m. on May 17, 2003, during the Second Palestinian Intifada, a period of intensified Israeli-Palestinian conflict that had begun two and a half years earlier. The two traveled by taxi four miles north to the handler’s home in Shuafat, where Takruri showed him the explosives vest stowed in his bag. To avoid a last minute change of heart, Takruri, like many suicide bombers, spent the last night of his life away from his family.
At 4 a.m. Takruri and his handler awoke and worked together to fasten a specially designed vest around the bomber’s body. Inside were four separate cylinders, each packed with ball bearings and screws, designed as a pipe bomb, weighing approximately 15 pounds. The explosives were formulated from common household products, a dangerous, unstable mix of acetone, hydrogen peroxide, and hydrochloride acid, a recipe found on the Internet.
They hooked up an activation switch shaped like a doorbell and the size of two matchbooks. Takruri secreted the weapon under clothes the handler had purchased for the occasion: ritual four-cornered undergarment with fringes, black pants, white shirt, long black coat, skullcap, and a Star of David chain, an outfit he figured would be worn by ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jews…
[continues at Pando Daily]