Iraqi forces arrested on Tuesday a woman suspected of heading up the recruitment of female suicide bombers in Iraq, including that of a teenager caught at a market recently with explosives strapped to her waist.
“Ibitisma Odwan was arrested by our forces,” defence ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari said.
He said police had caught the 38-year-old woman dubbed “Mother Fatima” in Hommadi village in Baquba’s east side after a tip-off.
“The Al-Qaeda woman was responsible for training girl suicide bombers,” Askari said, adding that she had been directly involved in the training of 15-year-old Rania Ibrahim.
Rania, who claimed she was drugged and tricked by her husband and two women into wearing an explosives belt, was arrested in late August at the crowded central Baquba market carrying 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of explosives.
Her shocking case threw the spotlight on Al-Qaeda’s methods in the recruitment of young women to their cause.
Baquba, the capital of Diyala province, is one of the most dangerous areas of Iraq. Insurgent groups and Al-Qaeda have continued launching attacks there despite a massive military crackdown by US and Iraqi forces.
A number of attacks there, especially suicide bombings, have been carried out by women.