More than 400 men, women, and children gathered at a meeting in Tehran on Wednesday to pledge their commitment to carry out suicide bomb attacks against both Israelis and Americans in Iraq.
(Check out the photo:An Iranian child wearing a headband with the inscription "There is no God but Allah" attends a suicide bomber registration meeting in Tehran (AP)
"Some 440 volunteers, most of them women, signed up today," said Mohammad Ali Samadi, spokesperson for the Headquarters for Commemorating Martyrs of the Global Islamic Movement, which organized the meeting.
to Samadi, members of his group -- which has sought volunteers for attaks in
Iraq and Israel since last June -- have already carried out suicide attacks
inside Israel against Israeli military targets. He added that "a few" of his
fighters had been killed in the attacks, but his claims could not be confirmed
since the group is not among those which have claimed responsibility for suicide
bombings inside Israel.
He added that several thousand have already been selected for training.
Each of the group's 400-plus new recruits -- some of whom donned headbands with the inscription 'there is no God but Allah' -- were confronted with a difficult choice: to train for suicide attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq; to train for suicide attacks against Israelis; or to assassinate British author Salman Rushdie, the author forced into hiding after the late Ayatollah Khomeini ordered Muslims to kill him.
The ceremony, which included the showcase of video footage depicting Israeli soldiers being killed in suicide attacks, was attended by the distinguished Mahdi Rahimian, head of the Martyr's Foundation and the Imam Khomeini Relief Committee, both quasi-governmental organizations run by hard-liners loyal to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Iran's hard-line rulers have long called for the destruction of Israel. This may be one reason why Iranians are barred from traveling to Israel. "You can't travel there with an Iranian passport," said Samadi. "Our suicide bombers enter the occupied Palestine in other ways."
|Sharon says worried world accepting "nuclear" Iran|
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon voiced concern on Thursday that the world was growing accustomed to the idea Iran would build a nuclear bomb but said the time was not ripe for military action to stop it.
"Ultimately, I don't think there will be any alternative but to bring (Iran) to the U.N. Security Council and to take diplomatic and economic steps as pressure to stop this (nuclear effort)," Sharon told Israel Radio.
"I am troubled by the fact -- we hear this perhaps more in Europe than in the United States -- that the world is beginning to grow accustomed to the idea that the day will come and Iran will be a member of the nuclear weapons club," he said.
"This is particularly troubling, mainly because we are aware of Iran's threats against Israel. It is a country where even the so-called moderates speak of a national goal of destroying Israel and the Jewish people."
Asked whether Israel would consider bombing