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Discerning the Behavior of the Suicide Bomber: The Role of Vengeance


Deliberate suicide used to achieve some end in group conflict is a relatively rare but always dramatic behavior. Motivation for such behavior is complex occurs usually at both the group and individual levels, and can have multiple meanings. The author examines suicide bombing as it has occurred recently in both the 9/11 event and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, notes that it appears to be a behavior motivated mainly by the singular intent to destroy a particular people, and concludes that it is a 'depressive equivalent' behavior rooted in the desire for vengeance. He identifies such behavior, given this motivation, as a crime by the leaders of the groups planning such acts against those they send on suicide bombing missions. He exhorts civilized society to bring these criminals to justice in order to prevent such acts.

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Rosenberger, J. Discerning the Behavior of the Suicide Bomber: The Role of Vengeance. Journal of Religion and Health 42, 13–20 (2003).

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  • suicidal behavior in group conflict suicide bombing
  • motivation for suicide bombing
  • vengeance