Having lost so many of their suicide bomber teams, and other resources
(cash and explosives), surviving Islamic terrorists in Iraq have had to
improvise. As a result, the latest terror weapon in Iraq is a female suicide
bomber wearing a small amount of explosives under her all encompassing burqa.
There have been over 30 of these employed during the last 18 months, nearly all
of them in Diyala province (60 kilometers north of Baghdad). All these attacks
are believed to be the work of one terrorist cell, and this crew is the subject
of an intense manhunt.
Until a year
ago, Islamic terrorists in Iraq preferred to use car bombs. This was possible
because al Qaeda had a big supply of Sunni Arab volunteers from neighboring
countries to drive and die. Many of these volunteers were otherwise worthless,
as they had no training, and some of them were deranged. But some of these men
were capable of driving a suicide car bomb, often assisted by trigger teams
that would detonate the bomb remotely once the suicide driver got it into
bombs were produced in auto repair shops, where cars seats, and other
components were removed so that the explosives could be installed. Better
suspensions were often installed so that the vehicle would not be so obviously
overloaded, and be easier to drive.
The car bomb
was usually accompanied by guides, "or trigger team" riding in
another car, behind the suicide bomber, radioing the suicide bomber
instructions, and sometimes setting off the explosives themselves. Suicide
bombers often have second thoughts when it comes to doing the deed. The
guides try to make sure the suicide
bomber does not change his mind, any way they can. The guides car will often
have a cameraman, taping the operation. These vids turn up a lot on
pro-terrorist web sites.
women suicide bomber cell turned to recruiting women because the supply of
foreign volunteers had dried up. This was the result of attacks on the
smuggling operation that brought people across the Syrian border, and fewer
foreigners willing to volunteer for missions that, as everyone in the Arab
world now knew, mainly killed innocent civilians. Security forces had also shut
down most of the workshops that fitted cars with explosives. Then there was the
growing shortage of explosives, as more and more weapons caches were found and
destroyed. Finally, there was the problem of increased security, most of the
now supplied by Iraqi troops and police. In short, it was more difficult to get
a suicide car bomb to a target. Women, even if carrying a small bomb, had an
easier time getting through security.
cell leaders used a network of recruiters, many of them clergy, to seek out distraught
widows and female orphans (some as young as 12 or 13) to make the ultimate
sacrifice for the cause (or just for revenge.) The tragedy has been compounded
by the selection of hospitals as targets. These attacks are seen as a severe
blow to government morale, although the result has been increased efforts to
hunt down the members of the women's suicide bomber cell.