Thursday, August 28, 2008
Iraq: girl suicide bomber may have been forced into it by husband's "female relatives"
And you thought your in-laws were bad. "Girl suicide bomber shows 'al Qaeda's desperation,'" from the New Zealand Herald, August 27:
Police say they wanted to show "the desperate level al Qaeda has reached" when they released video footage of a teenage girl with an explosives vest strapped to her body In the footage the girl is seen handcuffed to a metal grid, her head repeatedly falling forward in apparent exhaustion as several policemen huddle around her.
After several minutes, the officers lift her flowered robe, remove the white vest hidden underneath and then take her for questioning, videotaping her in the presence of reporters. They prod her to confess to plans to stage a suicide attack, but she denies the allegation.
Police in Baqouba, where the girl - who says she was born in 1993 - was caught on Sunday, said she was fitted with the explosives by female relatives of her husband, whom she married five months ago.
One police official alleged that some in the girl's family had links to the al Qaeda in Iraq terror network.
Police wanted to "show the desperate level al Qaeda has reached, with members of one family driving each other to death," said Ibrahim Bajilan, head of the provincial council in the Diyala province, of which Baqouba is the capital.
The arrest of the girl, who gave her first name as Rania, heightened concern about a rise in suicide bombings by women in Iraq. The number of female bombers has more than tripled, from eight last year to 29 this year, say US military officials. That compares with a total of four in 2005 and 2006.
The circumstances of the girl's arrest remain unclear. US officials said she had turned herself in after being hooked to the explosives against her will. Local police said she was caught by a police patrol after arousing suspicion while walking in downtown Baqouba.