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Teen Terrorists Preferred Jail to Home

Teen terrorists scheduled to be released Friday preferred prison to home. Also slated for freedom: Gaza's “Terrorist Grandma.”
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 10/1/2009, 7:26 PM / Last Update: 10/4/2009, 8:33 PM

Among the 20 female terrorists scheduled to be released from prison last week in exchange for a video of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit was at least one who entered prison deliberately. The teen planned an attack along with a friend because both preferred Israeli jail to their homes in the Palestinian Authority-controlled Ramallah region.

The first terrorist to be released under the prisoner exchange deal was 15-year-old Bara Malki, who was freed Wednesday, one month before her scheduled release from prison. Malki was sentenced to 11 months in prison for attempting to stab a soldier at a checkpoint outside Ramallah.

Following her conviction, Malki argued in her defense that she had falsely confessed to planning to stab a soldier in order to be sentenced to prison time. In fact, she had never intended an actual attack, and had merely hoped to escape from home, she claimed in testimony given to the organization “Defense for Children International – Palestine Section.”

Malki explained that her parents had forced her to wear a head covering beginning at age seven, and once she became a teenager, had required her to wear a long coat over her clothing as well. In addition, her parents had hit her because they suspected her of speaking to men, she said.

Planned Stabbing to Escape Marriage
Malki's friend Samah came with her to the checkpoint, and brought a knife as well. Samah was arrested and sentenced to jail time. Like Malki, she later told Arab attorneys from DCI - PS that her goal had been to enter prison.

Samah, then 14, told the organization that she had wanted to escape home because her parents were planning to force her to marry a 35-year-old policeman within the week. “I therefore decided to head to the checkpoint and do anything that would get me arrested,” she said.

'Terror Grandma' and Co-conspirator Walk Free
Another terrorist on the release list was Fatma Hassan Zeck, the “terrorist grandma” from Gaza. Zeck was convicted of several charges, including attempted murder, for plotting to carry out a double suicide bombing along with her niece, Rauda Ibrahim Habib.

The two planned to infiltrate Israel using false documents stating that Habib required urgent medical care in Ramallah. Israeli intelligence agents obtained information regarding the planned attack and stopped the two as they left Gaza.

Agents also obtained videos in which both women announced their intention to carry out an attack and bid their families and children farewell. Such videos are typically made by terrorists before suicide attacks.

Zeck was convicted in July. She was freed Friday, and returned to her family in Gaza. Among her children are a teenage Islamic Jihad member and a baby born in prison following her attempted attack.

Habib was scheduled to be freed in the release deal as well. Her name was added to the list of those to be released on Thursday, after Hamas argued that Bara Malki could not count as one of the 20 prisoners released because her scheduled release date had arrived.