Report: Palestinian terrorists use teenage girls as combat spotters

Israeli thinktank reports that Palestinian terror groups are using teenage girls to spot Israeli soldiers, helping to lay ambushes.

By Andrew Bernard, The Algemeiner

Palestinian terrorist groups in Judea and Samaria have recruited teenage girls as spotters to report on Israeli troop movements, according to a new report.

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, an Israeli think tank, released a report this week citing posts on the messaging app Telegram in a channel used by fighters in the town of Jenin, which has been a focus of Israeli counterterrorism operations in recent months as terror groups have expanded their presence in the town.

One post from April 2022 addressed to “the jihad fighters” of Jenin encourages them to “use children and residents to observe and gather information” in order to ambush Israeli soldiers.

“Young people, do not take your eyes off the [Israeli] Dotan checkpoint,” says another of the Telegram posts from February 2022. “There are special observation units to monitor Dotan, and the checkpoint is subject to 24-hour observation. We will keep you informed of any new [development]. Monitor [the checkpoints] al-Salam and al-Jalameh.”

Such activity raises questions about whether unarmed people observing soldiers on behalf of a terrorist group — so-called spotters — can be considered combatants who have lost the protections afforded to civilians. According to the US Department of Defense’s Law of War Manual, “providing or relaying information of immediate use in combat operations” or “acting as a guide or lookout for combatants conducting military operations” would make someone a valid target for attack.

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One alleged spotter flagged in the Jerusalem Center’s report is Sadil Naghnaghia, a 15 year-old girl who was killed by the Israeli military in Jenin in June.

Video from Naghnaghia’s phone indicates that immediately before she was shot, she was recording video of an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) armored personnel carrier.

While the report doesn’t conclusively show that Naghnaghia was transmitting the video to terrorist groups, at her funeral she was draped in the regalia of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and had sent messages and posted on social media indicating her desire to become a “martyr.”

The use of child spotters in Jenin is the latest example of the radicalization of Palestinian children by terrorist groups. Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist organizations in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza actively recruit children into the ranks of their fighters.

This year some 65,000 Palestinian children attended “summer camps” that included combat training and anti-Israel indoctrination.

Meanwhile, despite pressure from the US Congress and European Parliament on the Palestinian Authority to reform its curricula or risk losing aid money, watchdog groups continue to find antisemitic and anti-Israel content in Palestinian school textbooks.

The Israeli education watchdog Impact-se, for example, has tracked examples of antisemitic material provided to children living in territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority. These include study cards for 11th graders accusing Jews of being “in control of global events through financial power,” assignments instructing 7th graders to describe Israeli soldiers as “Satan’s aides,” and a textbook chapter imploring Muslims to “liberate” the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.