The Washington Post has a haunting, detailed story today reporting, in part, that “there have been 31 female [suicide] bombers this year” in Iraq (the youngest, 13) and:

Since the 2003 invasion, 53 Iraqi women have either carried out suicide attacks or were apprehended before they could do so, according to the U.S. military. The attacks have killed more than 370 people and injured 650.

The Post (foreign service) reporter, Sudarsan Raghavan, talks to a woman who claims to head a 20-member group of female would-be suicide bombers in Iraq “who were the wives, sisters or daughters of insurgents killed by U.S. or Iraqi forces,” reporting that this woman was “contacted through previously successful means of reaching members of al-Qaeda in Iraq.”

Also, children at a school funded by U.S. reconstruction money are learning about the dangers of suicide bombers:

“This is an explosives belt. Don’t ever get close to it,” teacher Zena Abbas told the class. “If a stranger comes to you and gives you a toy or money and asks you to put on an explosives belts, say no. He wants you to blow yourself up and die. And then you will hurt many people for no reason.”

Some children nodded. Others appeared confused.


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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.