Female suicide bombings in Iraq: Why the recent surge?
Women are believed to be carrying out attacks to avenge the deaths of loved ones, counter depression, or atone for previous actions.
The number of attacks carried out by female suicide bombers in Iraq has increased sharply in 2008, causing observers to probe more deeply the motivations of the women involved and review policies that might be prompting the surge. Others are trying to determine whether this new tactic signals Al Qaeda's innovation or desperation in its fight against Iraqi and US forces.Skip to next paragraph
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Just last month, female suicide bombers made headlines by carrying out multiple attacks in Iraq's Diyala Province, where they have been most active. On June 22, a woman carried out the deadliest of four strikes across Diyala that left 15 people dead, The New York Times reported.
Earlier in the month, CNN reported that another female suicide bomber had targeted Iraqis celebrating their national team's victory in a soccer match against China. She killed 29 people in a marketplace in Qara Tappa, a town in Diyala Province.
According to the New York Times report, it remains unclear why recent suicide bombings carried out by women have occurred in the province.
Attacks by women earlier in the year sparked some confusion about Al Qaeda's strategy with regards to deploying female suicide bombers. On February 1, two mentally disabled women who had been "wired with explosives that were detonated remotely" killed 73 Iraqis in two popular pet markets in Baghdad. The Christian Science Monitor reported that the deployment of women was a departure from Al Qaeda's usual tactic of car bombings – one that sought to take advantage of less-stringent security protocols for women.