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Thursday, January 15, 2004

Sidney (AU) Morning Herald seeks to glorify Arab Muslim terrorist

"Mother's only wish was to die a martyr"
By Ed O'Loughlin, Herald Correspondent in Gaza

Palestinian militant groups use suicide bombers as political currency, and usually their faces and praises are postered all over their home towns within hours of their deaths.

Unusually, though, little is yet known about Reem Raiyshi, the 22-year-old mother who blew herself up in a Gaza industrial estate on Wednesday, killing four young Israeli guards and wounding seven other people, including four Palestinians. She is believed to be the first mother to carry out such an attack.

Immediately after the 10am attack, the Islamic militant group Hamas claimed her as the first woman suicide bomber to die on its orders - although several other women have died for less conservative groups - and set up the customary mourning tent near her home. But the traditional glossy posters of the "martyr" were absent and, even more unusually, so were her husband and much of her middle-class merchant family.

Her brother, who acted as chief mourner, refused to talk to reporters and local Hamas supporters warned them off approaching her home.

The dead woman's brother-in-law, Yusuf Awad, told Associated Press she and her husband had fought with the family a couple of months earlier and she had disappeared.

"We were not expecting that from her," he said, referring to the terrorist attack. "We would not have thought it possible."

Raiyshi left behind a three-year-old son, Obedia, an 18-month old daughter, Doha, and a video recorded just before her death. Cradling an assault rifle and flanked by green Hamas flags, the young woman said she had dreamt of martyrdom from the age of 13.

"I always wanted to be the first woman to carry out a martyr attack, where parts of my body can fly all over," she said, smiling. "That is the only wish I can ask God for." She concluded: "God gave me two children and I loved them so much. Only God knew how much I loved them."

"Abu Jihad", a 22-year-old Hamas member attending her mourning tent, said he had not known Raiyshi but that sometimes she had come to the place where young men studied the Koran. "Really, I am jealous of her," he said. "I hope and I wish to be in her place one day."

See also coverage in the New York Times:

"After the bombing, her husband was seen crying outside the family home."
The Times apparently does not see fit to even mention the names of those murdered, much less if and where their family members were seen crying.

The Times also omits:
-- that four of the seven wounded were Palestinians,

-- that this bombing caused thousands of Palestinians to be prevented from going to work in Israel, and

-- that Abu Ala did not condemn the bombing.
And while I'm at it, and my blood pressure is sky-rocketing anyway, please note that the Times does consider it newsworthy that Rabbi Defends Blocking Israeli Bulldozers.

Write to the New York Times Public Editor:
To reach Daniel Okrent, who represents the readers, e-mail public@nytimes.com

UPDATEI did write, and got these responses, okay by me. So far.
Thank you for your comments and inquiries. Everything sent to this mailbox is read either by me or by my associate, Arthur Bovino. If a reply is appropriate, you will be hearing from us shortly. When referring to a specific article please include its date, section and headline. If you do not wish for your message to be relayed to the appropriate editors and reporters please let us know.
-- Daniel Okrent
Public Editor
and then . . .
Dear Ms. Lieberman,

Thank you for your message.
I have forwarded your concerns to Alison Smale, acting foreign editor.
If you have not heard anything from us within two weeks please let me know.

Sincerely,
Arthur Bovino
Office of the Public Editor