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Suicide Bombers

NCJ Number
Homeland Defense Journal Volume: 5 Issue: 5 Dated: May 2007 Pages: 12-14,16
Paul Serluco
Date Published
May 2007
4 pages
This first part of a two-part article discusses the increasing use of women as suicide bombers by terrorist groups, with the second part of the article focusing on Chechen female suicide bombers.
International security expert Yoram Schweitzer of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University has reported that between 1985 and 2006, there had been over 220 women suicide bombers, representing nearly 15 percent of the overall number of actual suicide bombers around the world and those intercepted just before the intended attack. There are logistical rationales for the use of female suicide bombers, despite religious or cultural constraints against recruiting them for such premeditated acts of suicidal violence. Women arouse less suspicion than men and are therefore better able to clear checkpoints and other security obstacles in reaching guarded targets. In addition, they do not require special training or combat skills, which make women an efficient use of human resources. Women bombers also draw greater media attention to the sponsoring organization and its cause in the aftermath of a successful suicide bombing. Although having value as suicide bombers, women play a marginal role in the terrorist organizations that use them. They do not participate in decisionmaking, even in the planning and execution of the suicide bombings in which they are used. Most willingly go to their deaths, and many other women are waiting their turn to be emissaries of death to those targeted as enemies. Although the groups who use women suicide bombers may laud this as a sign of women's equality in the terrorist movement, there is no evidence that the women themselves are primarily motivated by this cause.


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