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WORLD BRIEFING / IRAQ

Women decide against suicide attacks, U.S. says

November 27, 2008|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

Eighteen young women purportedly belonging to a suicide bombing network in northern Iraq surrendered to U.S. forces, said Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, who leads U.S. forces in the area.

He said the women turned themselves in after a cleric and their families convinced them that suicide attacks violated the tenets of Islam.

The number of bombings carried out by women has jumped this year even as overall violence has declined. U.S. military figures show 31 attacks by 35 female suicide bombers this year, compared with eight in 2007.

Women often are allowed to pass through male-guarded checkpoints without being searched, and they traditionally wear flowing black robes that make it easier to hide explosives belts.

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