Suicide Bombings

   Major weapon of choice of Palestinian terror groups against Israelis, especially during the Al-Aksa intifada. Suicide bombings were introduced into the Arab-Israeli conflict by Yahya Ayash (a prominent Hamas operative known as "the Engineer") in 1994 as a primary method for Palestinian attacks on Israelis. Initially employed by only radical Islamist groups (Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad), it was also used by the Fatah-Tanzim, Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, and other secular groups. The wave of terrorist bombings in major Israeli cities in the early months of the Al-Aksa intifada largely explains broad popular support in Israel for the construction of the West Bank security barrier. The unprecedented deaths of 135 Israeli civilians in 17 suicide bombing attacks in March 2002 alone, culminating in the Passover Massacre at Ne-tanya's Park Hotel on 27 March, prompted Ariel Sharon to initiate Operation Defensive Shield, constituting a large-scale Israel Defense Forces temporary reoccupation of areas of the West Bank transferred to the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Accords.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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