chapter
10 Pages

Introduction

ByCINDY D . NESS

For all intents and purposes, the female terrorist had not been treated as a legitimate subject for serious inquiry before Wafa Idris, the Palestinian Red Crescent paramedic, blew herself up on Jaffa Road in downtown Jerusalem on January 27, 2002. This was the case, even though several of the most active left-wing terrorist groups of the 1960s and 1970s, ones central to ushering in the era of modern terrorism, were co-created or co-led by women – Ulrike Meinhof of the Bader-Meinhof group, Leila Khalid and Fusako Shigenobu of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and Adriana Faranda of the Red Brigades held leadership positions in their respective organizations. A quick look at major Western newspapers following Idris’ attack might have left one thinking that Idris was the world’s first female suicide bomber, despite the fact that Sana’a Mouhadly, a member of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), had earned that distinction in 1985. Mouhadly detonated an explosive-laden vehicle, which in addition to killing her, killed two Israeli soldiers and injured two others. Over the next few years, females carried out four more of the 12 suicide missions undertaken by the SSNP aimed at pushing Israeli troops out of Southern Lebanon.