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Father of Palestinian Suicide Bomber Says Son Died in Vain in Anti-Islamic Act

The father of a Palestinian suicide bomber has attacked militant Islamic groups that encourage young Palestinians to carry out such bombings. In a letter published earlier this month, the father said he believes his son died in vain.

The father, who identified himself as Abu Saber, said his eldest son died in an attack he carried out four months ago.

In an emotional plea that appeared in the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat he wrote, "I write this letter with a languishing heart and with eyes that have not ceased weeping." He said that such acts were against the Islamic faith and had failed to boost the Palestinian cause or change Israeli policies.

"We must, today, more than at any other time, obey the Koranic verse, act for the sake of Allah, and refrain from carrying out acts that will throw us to destruction," he said.

Meanwhile, the Israeli secret police, the Shin Bet, released a report based on Palestinian documents and the confessions of Rakad Salim, the secretary-general of the pro-Iraqi Arab Liberation Front in the West Bank, who was arrested last week.

The report said sums amounting to $15 million have been transferred by the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers and those killed and wounded by Israeli security forces.

Mr. Salim allegedly told his interrogators that he had met the Iraqi leader two years ago and that President Saddam had decided to transfer funds from Iraq to Palestinian families.

According to the report, the families of suicide bombers were given $10,000 each, while seriously wounded Palestinians received $1,000, and those lightly wounded received $500.

According to the report, the money was transferred through a branch of an Iraqi bank in Amman to a Jordanian bank in the city and from there to a branch of the Jordanian bank in Ramallah, where the Arab Liberation Front has an account.

But Abu Saber said that such money did more harm than good. "The sums of money [paid] to the martyrs' families," he wrote, "cause pain more than they heal: they make the families feel that they are being rewarded for the lives of their children..."

He then asked, "Do the children's lives have a price? Has death become the only way to restore the rights and liberate the land? And if this be the case why does not a single one of the sheikhs who compete amongst themselves in issuing fiery rulings, send his son?"

Mr. Saber said what motivated him to write his letter was not the death of his eldest son. He said he has learned that those who encouraged his son to carry out the bombing, have, as he wrote, started to "wrap themselves around my other son," directing him on the same path.