Code pink: Al Qaida announces women's suicide division

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

LONDON Al Qaida has reported the establishment of a women's suicide division which is being led by a women named Umm Osama, a nomme de guerre that means the mother of Osama, a reference to Al Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden.

The unit trains women in suicide attacks and is meant to compensate for a shortage of male volunteers.

"The idea gathered interest after female suicide missions in Palestine and Chechnya," Umm Osama said in an interview to the London-based A-Sharq Al Awsat daily on March 12. "We are willing to take any Muslim woman, and we have Chechens, Afghans, Arabs from all countries. We are preparing to carry out operations as our predecessors did in Palestine and Chechnya."

The Saudi-owned newspaper, which has maintained contact with Al Qaida, said it conducted the interview via the Internet, Middle East Newsline reported. Al Qaida figures have provided information on the group's activities after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan via a range of sympathetic web sites.

Umm Osama said the women are instructed in firing the U.S. M-16, the Russian AK-47 and various pistols. She said the instruction is conducted in several languages.

"As a network and oganization, we rely on the Internet for widest distribution," Umm Osama said. "Every person trains in her locality because we can't bring everybody to one location."

Umm Osama said her unit receives instructions from the Al Qaida leadership. She said an Al Qaida figure, Mullah Seif Eddin serves as liasion with the leadership of Al Qaida and Taliban.

The women's unit plans to eventually establish a training camp in an unspecified location, Umm Osama said. She said the development of the unit has taken time and overcame Muslim resistance to women fighters.

"We have women fighters on Afghan territory who are battling the crusader forces [the United States and allies] and have blown themselves up," Umm Osama said. "We also have women in Afghanistan who carry messages from the leadership."

"We are preparing for the new strike announced by our leaders and I declare that it will make America forget the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001," she said. "Our organization is open to all Muslim women wanting to serve the [Islamic] nation, particularly in this very critical phase."

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