At first glance she does not arouse any suspicion - a young Palestinian woman in her first months of pregnancy, covered in a headscarf, and speaking softly.
Yet had Samar Ibrahim Sabih not been nabbed, Hamas terrorists would have almost certainly joined the Islamic Jihad by now in carrying out suicide bomb attacks in the heart of Israel. Instead, the woman meant to train Hamas suicide bombers in the West Bank is currently facing a Shin Bet interrogation.
It’s hard to believe that this young, quiet religious woman is a seasoned commando fighter, an expert in making suicide bomb belts and explosive devices, and the first woman who has turned into “an engineer” in the service of terror.
Next week, when the Shin Bet completes its interrogation, we'll be able to know more about the "women's corps" established by Hamas.
Palestinian female terrorists are not a new phenomenon. In recent years, terror organizations have not hesitated to send women to commit suicide bombings, stab soldiers, and smuggle explosive devices. But Samer Ibrahaim Sabih was the first Palestinian woman to become a terror leader and planner.
Her involvement in terrorism began in 2003, when she was recruited by Muhammad Tari, a Hamas activist who lived in her neighborhood in Jabaliya, Gaza. She was then a student of Arab literature in the Islamic University of Gaza, and Tari knew that she was planning to marry and move to Tul Karem after her studies.
Hamas female commando force
At that time, Tari was faced with a “problem”: He had recruited Yasser Muhammad Salah, son of the Ramallah police chief, into the ranks of Hamas, and ordered him to set up a Hamas terror cell and to prepare its members for attacks. The West Bank, however, lacked experts in explosives that could train the cell. Tari then decide to try and “import” an engineer from Gaza, and Samar, his neighbor, was an ideal candidate.
It wasn’t hard to convince her to join Hamas. Samar’s family already identified with Fatah, but she became more religious during her studies, and joined the Islamic student bloc. From there, the path to Hamas was short.
Three months ago, Hamas’ first female commando force was exposed. In Gaza's fields, Palestinian women were trained to plant explosives, fire light weaponry and sniper rifles, and launch mortar shells and Qassam rockets. Samer Ibrahim Subuh joined this force, where she became an expert in preparing fertilizer-based suicide bomb explosive belts.
Her first student was her husband, who she taught how to mix chemicals and to turn them into bombs. A short time later, her husband discovered that Samar was pregnant, but this did not prevent her from continuing her plans for murder.
“She integrated well into Hamas infrastructure in the West Bank,” a Shin Bet source said. “She became an instructor and explosives expert, while displaying a high degree of professionalism.”
Among others, Sabih directed the terror cell leader behind the abduction and murder of Israeli citizen Sasson Nuriel last month.
Hamas terrorists were determined to protect their first female engineer. Samar and her husband, Ramzi, agreed that should they be detained by the Shin Bet, they will both claim that the husband was in fact the one who taught his wife the “art of explosives,” and not the other way around, in order to hide the Gaza connection.
However, the plan failed. On September 29 at 2 p.m., IDF troops and Shin Bet agents raided the Sabih family home and apprehended Samer. A day later, her husband was also taken into custody.
However, Shin Bet officials know this is only the beginning, and that the integration of more women into advanced levels of terror activity is only a matter of time.
Indeed, the first female terror engineer will not be the last one.