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Woman recruited suicide bombers

A WOMAN suspected of recruiting more than 80 female suicide bombers has been arrested, the Iraqi military said yesterday, dealing a major blow to one of the most effective forms of attack in Iraq.

The woman, identified as Samira Ahmed Jassim or by her nickname "Umm al-Mumineen," was shown confessing in a video played for reporters at a press conference in Baghdad.

Dressed in an all-black Islamic robe, she described how she would persuade the women to be bombers, then escort them to an orchard for training and finally pick them up and lead them to their targets.

She said she was acting on behalf of insurgents based in the volatile Diyala province, north of Baghdad.

An Iraqi military spokesman said she had recruited more than 80 women willing to carry out attacks and had admitted masterminding 28 bombings in different areas.

The number of bombings carried out by women has spiked even as overall violence has declined, and United States commanders have warned that insurgents were actively trying to find more recruits.

The use of female suicide bombers is part of a shift in insurgent tactics to avoid detection at US-Iraqi military checkpoints that have become ubiquitous in Iraq as part of increased security measures.

Iraqi women are often allowed to pass through male-guarded checkpoints without being searched, and they traditionally wear flowing black robes that make it easier to hide explosives.

Jassim, whose nickname means "the mother of believers," was arrested by Iraqi security forces on January 21.


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