A female suicide bomber killed more than 30 Shia pilgrims and wounded scores more in an attack on Shia pilgrims in a region north of Hillah in Iraq’s Babil province.
The woman detonated her vest in a crowd of Shia pilgrims in Iskandariyah province. The Shia were traveling to the holy city of Karbala to observe the religious holiday of Arbaeen.
Today’s suicide attack followed a yesterday’s attack in Karbala that killed five Shia and wounded 30 more. Terrorists detonated an improvised explosive device built inside a fuel canister. “The incident took place around 50 meters from the Shrine of Imam Hussein,” an official told Voices of Iraq.
On Feb. 11, a dual bombing at a bus terminal used by Shia pilgrims and a market in southern Baghdad killed 16 Iraqis and wounded 35 more. Two more Iraqis were killed and 16 more were wounded in three separate roadside bomb attacks that same day.
One other suicide attack in Iraq has been carried out by a woman this year. On Feb. 5, a female suicide bomber killed 15 Iraqis and wounded 13 more in an attack at a cafe in in Khanaqin. An attack outside of a Shia shrine in Baghdad that killed 35 civilians and wounded 79 more was first reported to have been carried out by a female suicide bomber but the assessment was later changed by the Iraqi police.
No group has yet to claim responsibility for the bombings, but the suicide attacks bear the hallmark of an al Qaeda or allied Ansar al Sunnah strike. These two groups have specialized in using female suicide bombers in Baghdad and Diyala province.
Samira Jassim recruited and trained female suicide bombers for Ansar al Sunnah and had some of them raped to shame them into conducting attacks.
In January, Iraqi security forces had a major breakthrough on an Ansar al Sunnah female suicide ring. Security forces detained Samira Jassim on Jan. 21, and she later admitted she recruited, indoctrinated, and trained women to carry out the attacks for Ansar al Sunnah. Jassim admitted to recruiting 80 female suicide bombers, 28 of whom carried out attacks.
Jassim also admitted that she took advantage of the culture of shame and had some of the women raped to induce them to carry out suicide attacks. After the rapes, Jassim would tell the women the only way they could escape the shame of rape was to act as a suicide bomber. Hamas, the Sunni Palestinian terror group in Gaza and the West Bank that is backed by Iran, has also relied on forced rapes to induce women to carry out suicide attacks.
As suicide bombers in Iraq, women have an advantage because Iraqi soldiers and police are inclined not to search them.
US and Iraqi forces killed two senior al Qaeda leaders involved in the female suicide bomber ring during operations in 2008. In February 2008, US forces confirmed the death of Arkan Khalaf Khudayyir, a senior intelligence officer of al Qaeda in Iraq’s network in Diyala. Khudayyir was instrumental in facilitating suicide bombing attacks in the Diyala River Valley and in Baghdad. He was behind several of female suicide bomb attacks in Baghdad and Diyala before he was killed in a raid.
In November 2008, Iraqi troops killed Abu Ghazwan, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq’s network in the regions north of Baghdad. He also facilitated female suicide attacks in the Diyala River Valley as well as in Baghdad.
Female suicide bombers carried out seven attacks in 2007 and conducted 32 attacks during 2008, the BBC reported.