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.
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After that bombing, it was believed that women were being coerced by Al Qaeda operatives, or that they were unaware of what they were doing. However, an attack in March dispelled those assumptions. Reuters reported the deliberate manner in which a female suicide bomber killed a Sunni tribal chief who oversaw a neighborhood security unit in Diyala Province.Skip to next paragraph
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Another report in The New York Times emphasizes that this trend of female suicide bombers gained momentum only last year.
Previously, The Christian Science Monitor compiled a list of suicide bombings carried out by women in Iraq through August 2006.
The reasons why the number of female suicide bombers is on the rise remain hotly debated. A CNN report suggests that the attacks are an extension of ongoing efforts by women to support the Iraqi insurgency. It adds that security lapses with regard to women are facilitating female suicide bombings.
On the other hand, The New York Times argues that most female suicide bombers are women suffering from depression or a lack of purpose in the wake of a male family member's loss, whether that be due to death or detention.
An article published by Islam Online suggests that women are becoming suicide bombers to avenge the death of their loved ones and cites the example of Um Mustafa, a 41-year-old woman training to become a bomber.
Such attempts to consider the broader sociopolitical implications of female suicide bombings are a departure from earlier studies, reported on by Ynetnews, an Israeli English-language news website, that suggested that women carried out attacks to atone for previous sins or wrongdoings by one of their family members.
Female suicide bombers are not unique to Iraq. Women have previously carried out deadly attacks in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian, Russian-Chechen, and Sri Lankan-Tamil conflicts, as documented by the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University.