March 16, 2004.
Palestinian terrorists yesterday stooped to a sickening new low – trying to turn
this baby-faced 10-year-old boy into a human bomb by having him unknowingly
smuggle an explosives-laden backpack past a West Bank checkpoint.
Impoverished little Abdallah Kora’an – working as a pint-sized porter at the
Huwwara security checkpoint near Nablus – had been offered money by two
men to lug what they hoped would pass as a schoolbag through the heavily
guarded spot and into Israel, government officials said.
The lethal package – laden with nuts and bolts to make it even deadlier – was
then to be handed to cohorts on the other side and used for a future homicide
bomber in Israel, officials said.
But the terrorists had a chilling backup plan: If the boy was stopped and
searched, they would use a cell phone to immediately detonate the 15 to 22
pounds of explosives, murdering nearby soldiers – and the innocent boy,
That’s the scenario that the thugs were left with when an alert guard grew
suspicious and stopped Abdallah for a search at around 6 a.m.
The terrorists feverishly tried to detonate the device while watching the scene
unfold from afar. But they were apparently foiled by a glitch in their wiring,
Israeli military chiefs said.
The officials said the rag-tag boy, who lives with his family in the Balata
refugee camp, was simply an innocent player in the horrific scheme and had no
idea he was carrying a bomb.
“ asked him to carry through a bag . . . and left. He just wanted to
make money. He’s just a poor kid,” one official said.
Israeli officials said the boy told them he had been promised “a large sum of
money” to deliver the bag to a Palestinian woman on the other side.
The boy regularly helps tote baggage for Palestinians not allowed to drive
through the security check, officials said.
He also had his own bag filled with schoolbooks at the time.
As Abdallah began trudging through the security check, an eagle-eyed female
soldier noticed that the backpack seemed unusually heavy for such a small boy.
When she told the increasingly nervous child she wanted to search it, he
immediately confessed, “The bag is not mine. I was asked to carry it across.”
The woman started to look in the bag and spotted a cell phone. That’s when
explosives experts were called in. They eventually safely detonated the package
away from the scene.
Several of the terrorists who dispatched the boy have already been captured,
Israeli sources said.
The government has blamed the Tanzim – Palestinian militants linked to the
Fatah group under leader Yasser Arafat – for the plot.
News of the plot came only a day after two 17-year-old Palestinian boys –
juniors in high school – blew themselves up in Israel’s main port of Ashdod,
killing 11 people and injuring 18.