By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank Thursday 25 March 2004, 18:55 Makka Time, 15:55 GMT
Palestinian leaders have accused Israel of fabricating a story about a 14-year-old Palestinian boy who planned to blow himself up.
The Israeli army said he was caught wearing an explosive belt at an army roadblock in the northern West Bank.
The boy, identified as Husam Abdu from Nablus, was shown on TV screens around the world, with an explosive belt strapped to his waist.
The Israeli army said the boy told interrogators that his dispatchers promised that he would have sex with 72 virgins in heaven soon after his death.
“We know for sure this is a fabricated story from A to Z. Would you believe that a 13 or 14-year old would agree to blow up himself in return for a hundred shekels which he would receive after his death?
“It seems to me that the Israelis are bad liars as well,” said Yaqub Shahin, a director-general of the Palestinian Authority ministry of information.
Painting a ‘terrorist’ picture
In an interview with Aljazeera.net, Shahin accused Israel of seeking to justify slaughtering Palestinian children by spreading the false impression that they areused as human bombers.