Please notice that Reuters does not use the term "terrorists"
to describe those who target innocent civilians.
Palestinian Fighter's Mum Sees Off Son with a Smile
Shortly afterwards, Mahmoud and his comrades clashed with occupation soldiers near the Jewish settlement of Dugit on Saturday. They killed two soldiers before Mahmoud was shot dead.
I am not losing you because you are going to paradise, Naima said to her 23-year-old son in the tape released on Sunday. Our message to the Israeli occupiers and killers is that this is our land... and our sons that we love are no more dear to us than our land. Their blood will redeem it, said Naima, who has four other sons and five daughters.
Resistance groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and an offshoot of Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's Fateh faction regularly distribute videotapes of Palestinian resistance fighters after they have carried out suicide attacks in the 20-month-old Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation. But appearances by family members in the footage is rare. Often relatives say they had little or no inkling of the bomber's plans, but many express admiration after the assault.
Israel says the popularity of Palestinian freedom fighters is the product of local media incitement against it and cash compensation of up to $25,000 paid to their families, many of them poverty-stricken, by Islamic charities and Iraq.
Hamas and other groups say the attackers are their most effective weapons against Israel's ultramodern army and recruits are driven by their desperation under occupation.
At least 1,398 Palestinians, including suicide attackers, and 511 Israelis have been killed since the start of the uprising against occupation after peace talks froze.
A kiss goodbye
Mahmoud appeared calm in the video. Dressed in olive camouflage fatigues and brandishing an assault rifle, he read a statement describing his mission, then sat beside his mother.
I am going on a very important operation and God will support me, as well as my mother and father, because we are defending our rights, he said.
Later, he rose and kissed his mother on her head, which was draped in a white headscarf. He placed his green headband on her forehead and handed her a rifle.
The two stood, holding hands and clutching rifles, for a final shot together. After his death, Naima was still smiling and wearing the headband her son gave her as she greeted fellow mourners on Sunday at home in Gaza City's ramshackle Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood, a stronghold of Islamic resistance groups.
Thousands of mourners and Hamas resistance fighters in black masks thronged the streets of the neighbourhood for Mahmoud's funeral, where loudspeakers blared music more reminiscent of a wedding than a burial. I saw my son the day before yesterday and sat with him for hours, Naima told Reuters, surrounded by 50 women, some of whom had also had sons killed by the occupation army.
I told him don't tremble in front of our enemy, don't waste your bullets. My message to Israeli mothers is don't send your sons to their deaths for a losing battle.
But some Gazans were incredulous. I can't believe it, one city cab driver said. I have sons, and if one of them were to fall to the ground, my heart would fall with him.