They suspect he had stopped off for one last cup of joe before heading out to look for a crowd.

According to reports by security sources, at least two local residents had spotted Saksak, whose heavy coat and large bag aroused their suspicions, and called the police. Channel 2 reported that one of the people who alerted local police was the taxi driver who took Saksak into town.

Saksak, who appeared to have stopped at the bakery for coffee before reaching his final destination, blew himself up after he saw the police cars approaching.

Islamic Jihad and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade — the military wing of “moderate” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s party, Fatah — claimed joint responsibility. Motive? Your pick: Palestinian unity through better Jew-killing or brave resistance to historical research taking place near an Islamic holy site. The unity theory:

An Islamic Jihad Web site said the attack was meant to help bring an end to weeks of Palestinian infighting that has 60 people in the Gaza Strip since December.

”The operation has a clear message to the Palestinian rivals. It is necessary to end the infighting and point the guns toward the occupation that has hurt the Palestinian people,” the site said…

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, called the attack a ”natural response” to Israeli military policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as its ongoing boycott of the Hamas-led Palestinian government. ”So long as there is occupation, resistance is legitimate,” he said.

He also said attacks on Israel were preferable to the recent bout of Palestinian infighting in Gaza between his group and the more moderate Fatah Party of President Mahmoud Abbas. ”The right thing is for Fatah weapons to be directed toward the occupation not toward Hamas,” Barhoum said.

The opposition-to-scientist-aggression theory:

Islamic Jihad and the Aqsa brigades said the bombing was a response to Israeli “attempts to defile al-Aqsa mosque” in Jerusalem, a reference to recent archaeological excavations. Israeli officials said the work had not damaged the shrine…

“The heroic operation announces the beginning of a series of operations in defense of al-Aqsa mosque and it was a natural response to savage aggression by the occupation (Israel),” Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa Brigades said in a statement.

Naturally, the killer’s family is thrilled:

The Palestinian Web site Ramattan quoted Saqsaq’s family as saying he had left their home three days ago and not returned.

“We knew that he was going to carry out a martyrdom operation,” Saqsaq’s brother, Naeem, told reporters at the family home in the northern Gaza Strip. “His mother and father prayed for him to succeed.”

Islamic Jihad spokesman Abu Hamzeh said Saqsaq did not enter Jordan legally, but rather was smuggled there a few days ago. Militants waiting for the bomber in Eilat gave him the explosives there, Hamzeh told the Associated Press.

The last suicide bombing in Israel was nine months ago. According to an Islamic Jihad member, this bombing has been in the works for seven months.

Plenty of photos at Yahoo News and Getty, where you’ll find a young relative of the murderer actually making the “victory” sign while holding a photo of him.

siksik.jpg

Update: This is the tip of the iceberg, says the IDF.

Update: The warm vibes afterward from the savage’s family are always the most disgusting part.

“As he walked out of the house, he asked me to wish him good luck,” she said. “I wished him good luck and I knew of his decision to become a martyr. Although I was aware of his intention, I did not know exactly when he was planning to carry out a martyrdom attack.”…

The mother of nine said she was proud of her son for carrying out the suicide attack. “I pray to Allah that Muhammed will be accepted as a shaheed [martyr],” she said shortly after hearing about the Eilat bombing. “I hope that his martyrdom will deliver a message to the Fatah and Hamas fighters to stop the fighting and direct their weapons against the one and only enemy – Israel.”

Ruwaidah said she was prepared to “sacrifice” all her sons “for the sake of the Aqsa Mosque and Palestine.” She added: “I hope that our politicians will stop fighting so that the blood of the martyrs will not be shed in vain.”

Update: Jim Treacher has more advice from young Palestinian mothers.

Tags: Israel