Pictured: The dramatic moment a 15-year-old Iraqi suicide bomber gave herself up
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 8:50 AM on 26th August 2008
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Tears streaming down her face, she is confronted by police - a teenage girl apparently planning to blow herself up in front of an Iraqi school.
The officers handcuffed her to a metal balustrade before moving in with extreme caution to uncover a vest full of explosives hidden under her colourful robe.
The dramatic scenes were captured on a video shot by the police.
Handcuffed: Police said the girl’s father had already blown himself up. Officers have also arrested her mother and sister
Officers watch on as a man approaches the teenager
The girl - thought to be around 15 years old - later said that she was given the bomb and told to wait outside the school for further instructions.
In the footage, she denies trying to stage a suicide attack, and appears dazed, even drugged. She gave her first name as Rania and said she was born in 1993.
Her exchange with the police offered a rare glimpse at a teenager allegedly recruited by insurgents.
However, it was not clear to what extent her answers were given out of fear - of the police, or even of her own family.
Police later said the vest contained about 33lb of explosives
Police in Baqouba, where the girl was caught on Sunday, said she was fitted with the vest by female relatives of her husband, whom she married five months ago.
They also claimed that the girl’s father was a suicide bomber, and her mother and one of her sisters were later arrested.
However, U.S. sources said that the girl turned herself in after being hooked up to the explosives against her will.
The police footage begins with Rania standing on the street. Her arms are already behind her back, where they have apparently been tied by an officer in an attempt to restrain her.
A policeman is shown opening her robe, and later frames show her wearing what appears to be a suicide vest, containing about 33lb of explosives.
The officer said the girl led the police back to where she was given the explosives and that they found a second bomb belt in an empty apartment in the Baqouba area.
Suspected bomber: Police move in on a girl, 15, who appears to be wearing a suicide vest packed with explosives
He also said the girl’s mother and sister were arrested, but it was not clear why.
Some female bombers may have been motivated by revenge, and U.S. commanders believe al Qaeda in Iraq is increasingly seeking to exploit women unable to deal with the grief of losing husbands, parents, children and others to the violence.
The U.S. military said that in Diyala, some 200 female volunteers recruited by the U.S.-backed group Daughters of Iraq are helping search women at checkpoints.
Disarmed: She appears dazed
Many Iraqi women wear long robes, ideal for covering bulky suicide vests, and Iraqi policemen hesitate to pat them down at checkpoints because of cultural taboos.
The police footage of the girl’s arrest begins with her standing on a Baqouba street, next to a metal structure.
Her arms are behind her back, apparently tied to the structure, as police surround her.
Later, a policeman is shown opening her robe, and subsequent frames show her wearing what appears to be the suicide vest.
Police later said the vest contained about 33 pounds of explosives.
The girl is then shown standing in a room, wrapped in a black cloak, her hair dishevelled and surrounded by police officers.
She insists she doesn’t know the women who gave her the vest.
‘I swear to Allah that I do not know them. They were strangers,’ she is heard saying, though she later says that ‘one of the women’s names was maybe Fadhila and the other was called Widad.’
When pressed to say whether she knew the woman who put the vest on her, she replied: ‘Yes.’
Police asked if she intended to blow herself up.
‘No, no, they put it on me and told me to take it off at home,’ she said. ‘They did not tell me to explode myself.’
A policeman then asks: 'If so, why didn’t you disconnect" the detonator?
The girl says: ‘I did not disconnect it (because) maybe it fell from me.’
A policeman standing next to her could be heard saying that when she was picked up, she was initially unable to talk because she had been given drugs.
Explosives: The vest that the girl was wearing at the time of her arrest
Interrogation: Police paraded the girl before reporters after her arrest
Footage from another interrogation session appears to contradict this testimony, with Rania saying she was shown the vest’s two detonators and told to press the second button if the first failed to work.
At one point, a policeman can be heard saying that when the girl was picked up, she was unable to talk because she had been given drugs.
The drama came as it was revealed that the number of women carrying out suicide attacks in Iraq has more than tripled in 12 months.
The number has gone from eight in 2007 to 29 this year, according to U.S. military officials.
They believe that Al Qaeda is increasingly exploiting women unable to deal with the grief of losing husbands, parents and children since the U.S. invasion in 2003.
Baqouba, where the girl was arrested, is the capital of the volatile eastern Diyala province and an Al Qaeda stronghold in Iraq. The area has seen some of the worst violence in the country.
The U.S. military said that in Diyala, some 200 female volunteers recruited by the U.S.-backed group Daughters of Iraq are now helping with checkpoint searches.