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APRIL 1985


The Shi’ite faction National Resistance Front (PPS), based in South Lebanon, announces in April 1985 that 17-year-old Sana’a Mehaidli has become the first woman suicide car bomber to perish in action. Sana’a Muheidli is a member of the “Brides of Blood”, a team of teenage girls trained for suicide missions. Before she sets out to meet her fate, she records a suicide note by way of video, explaining her actions:
I am very relaxed to go on this operation because I am carrying out the duty of my people. I decided on self-sacrifice and martyrdom for the sake of liberation of our land and our people, because I have seen the tragedy of our people from the humiliation of occupation and oppression, the killing of children, women and old men.”
She exhorts her mother not to mourn her death, rather, “be merry, and let your joy explode as if it were my wedding day”. Sana’a tells her parents that she is off to buy lipstick. She then drives off in a white Peugeot stuffed with TNT, crashing it into an Israeli convoy. She kills herself and two soldiers.

When I read in the papers about a virgin of sixteen blowing herself up in the middle of a group of Israeli soldiers, it doesn’t surprise me very much. It’s the lugubrious yet joyful preparations that intrigue me. What string did the old woman or girl have to pull to detonate the grenades? How was the bodice arranged to make the girl’s body look womanly and enticing enough to rouse suspicion in soldiers with a reputation for intelligence?
Jean Genet, Prisoner of Love2