The oldest Palestinian suicide bomber, a 68-year-old widow, lived in a one-room shack and had so many grandchildren that relatives lost track of the number, but her daughter said Fatma Omar An-Najar was driven to lay down her life in an attack on Israelis Thursday because one grandson was killed and another disabled in clashes with troops.
Fatma presided over a small army of terror operatives, mostly from the Hamas movement, but with a few active in the rival Fatah. Her husband, who died a year ago, served time in Israeli jails, as did five of her seven sons. One of her numerous grandsons died at 17 four years ago, fighting IDF troops during an incursion into nearby Beit Lahiya, relatives said, and another teenage grandson lost a leg from gunshot wounds after he tried to stab a soldier.
One of her sons, Samir, 36, estimated that her nine offspring had a total of between 35 and 38 children of their own.
"She had an army of grandchildren," he said.