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Need to Know: Women as Bombs

A recent surge in suicide bombings carried out by women, may indicate that desperate Iraqi insurgents will increasingly employ women for suicide attacks.

Using women as human bombs gives the insurgents a tactical advantage. Many conservative Muslims believe physical contact is forbidden between unrelated women and men. Women, already less suspicious, are therefore allowed to pass through male-guarded checkpoints. Images of women suicide bombers can also be used to recruit men by claiming that wives and mothers must be sacrificed because there aren't enough brave men.

According to a recent AP article, some women are motivated by revenge—perhaps their sons were killed in the war. Others may do it for ideological reasons, just like the men.

Perhaps the rise in female bombers reflects a changing role for women in the Middle East. Are women rising in status, as suicide bombers are often hailed as heroes? Or, are they merely pawns used by desperate insurgents trying to gain strategic advantage?


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