Monday 27 January 2020


The Fatah-linked Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade unleashed the first ever female Palestinian suicide bomber - 28-year-old divorcee Wafa Idris.  She detonated a 22-pound bomb outside a shoe store in the centre of Jerusalem, killing an 81-year-old man and injuring more than 100 others.

Idris had been a volunteer for the Palestine Red Crescent, a humanitarian group.  She had no known previous links to militant groups, but the suicide attack turned her into a cult hero across the Arab world.  A football tournament in the West Bank was later named after her.  Following her death, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs unleashed three more female suicide bombers in the same year.

The elderly man killed in Idris's attack was Pinhas Tokatli, an amateur painter who was on his way home after buying paints.  He left a wife and four children.

Two years after Mr Tokatli's murder, a backbench Labour MP praised Al-Aqsa leader Marwan Barghouti as an "ambassador for peace".  That same year Barghouti was tried and sentenced to five life terms in Israel for various terrorist offences.  That backbench MP was Jeremy Corbyn.  In the years following Barghouti's arrest and incarceration Corbyn supported at least five early day motions in the House of Commons calling for his release.  On his website he referred to Barghouti as an "iconic figure".

Wafa Idris, the first female Palestinian suicide bomber