RAMALLAH, West Bank – An Islamic Jihad (search) homicide bomber who attacked a Haifa restaurant Saturday was days away from qualifying as a lawyer and was distraught over her brother's recent killing by Israeli troops, her family said.
The militant group identified the assailant as Hanadi Jaradat, a 27-year-old woman from the West Bank town of Jenin (search). Islamic Jihad said the homicide bombing came in retaliation for the deaths of several of its leaders in Israeli raids.
Jaradat left home Saturday about 7:30 a.m., earlier than usual, and did not tell anyone where she was going, her family said.
Despite a closure Israel had imposed over the West Bank on Friday to prevent attacks before the Yom Kippur (search) holiday Sunday evening, Jaradat managed to slip into Israel.
She walked up to a beachfront restaurant in the northern city of Haifa filled with Israeli Jews and Arabs about 2 p.m. and blew herself up, killing 19 people, including four Arabs.
"The only thing that would push her to do that would be to avenge my brother's death," her brother, Thaher, 15, said.
On June 12, Israeli troops who had come to arrest her cousin Salah, an Islamic Jihad militant, killed him and her brother Fadi.
She heard the shots and ran outside to help, but the soldiers shooed her away.
Jaradat had always been religious, fasting twice a week in a sign of piety. After the killings, she fasted during daylight hours every day. She began reading the Quran as well.
Jaradat, who had finished her legal studies in Jordan five years ago, was supposed to finish her required apprenticeship next week before qualifying as a lawyer, her family said.
They were shocked to hear she was responsible for the bombing, "but we are receiving congratulations from people," Thaher Jaradat said.
"Why should we cry? It is like her wedding today, the happiest day for her," he said.