TEL AVIV ø A report by Tel Aviv University's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies
said Al Qaida Al Qaida has been tempted to follow
secular groups that have based many of their strikes on women operatives.
The study said Al Qaida could increase its use of women suicide bombers to ensure the
success of operations.
Researcher Yoram Schweitzer cited the prosecution of two Moroccan
teenage girls who sought to blow themselves up in a supermarket in 2003. The
case was seen as the start of an Al Qaida campaign to recruit women suicide
attackers, Middle East Newsline reported.
"It is also possible that Al Qaida and its affiliated groups, whose
leaders have thus far refrained from involving women in their operations
except in a support role, will change course in the future," the report,
entitled "Female Suicide Bombers for God, said. "The religious-ideological
distance that Al Qaida will have to travel in order to involve women in
suicide bombings apparently constitutes a difficult challenge for it."
[On Tuesday, more than 100 Shi'ites were killed in a series of bombings,
including a suicide strike, in Baghdad and Karbala. The bombings took place
during the Shi'ite Ashura ceremonies and included a rocket strike on a
Palestinian insurgency groups have made considerable use of women
suicide bombers. The report said at least six women were sent by Palestinian
security insurgency groups for suicide operations. More than twice this
number volunteered for
suicide missions, but were caught before they could reach their targets.
Over the last decade, women suicide bombers have been used by the Tamil
Tigers in Sri Lanka, the Kurdish Workers Party in Turkey and Chechen
insurgency groups. Women comprise about half of the suicide bombings by
The report said Al Qaida and other Islamic insurgency groups have
debated the use of women bombers. But Islamic groups have determined that
women can obtain greater access to their targets and attract less attention
The women recruited for suicide attacks undergo intense indoctrination
and manipulation, the report said. But Islamic groups were not expected to
give women more than a marginal role in operations.
"Still, if tactical-operational considerations require that and the
promised result seems worthwhile in their eyes, they may well cross that
Rubicon, too, and then find some retroactive religious justification," the
report said. "In short, there is a real prospect that fundamentalist
terrorists will begin to imitate their secular counterparts and make much
greater use of female suicide bombers in the future."