ISIS Relies on Women in Its Terrorist Operations

Negotiations are taking place between the judiciary in Tripoli and the judiciary in Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt, regarding handing ISIS women who were arrested in Libya, identical sources reported.

Libyan authorities have arrested those women from the battle fronts in the cities of Sirte and Misurata. It was proved that they belong to ISIS and al-Qaeda in Libya.

The sources pointed that the Algerian authorities agreed to receive the women, noting that legal measures are being taken in this regard. Some of the detainees have already finished their sentences in prisons of western Libya.

Some countries have previously refused to receive women accused of belonging to ISIS, amid popular rejection for their return.

Many Arab countries have arrested several ISIS women including Iraq, Morocco and Syria, however, the largest number of ISIS women are in Syria, where the organization used to control large areas before being eliminated.

Pushing Women to Front Lines

With the increasing pressure on ISIS worldwide, the organization started pushing women to the front lines, to conduct suicide attacks. This is considered as remarkable turn in the terrorists movements.

Previously, women role in ISIS was limited to sub-tasks away from the battle fields, but that policy has changed as ISIS lost more territory in Iraq, Syria and Libya in recent times.

  Experts have warned of the danger of women conducting operations of ISIS, as governments and security authorities don’t have enough data on their numbers.

The absence of data and the change in ISIS position towards women involvement in battles rendered the danger of ISIS women greater than what security authorities expect.

It is noteworthy that recently, many ISIS women were arrested on charges of terrorism. They were active in Jihadi groups, in logistic and media support. The Jihadi women phenomenon has remarkably emerged, as terrorist organizations like ISIS, al-Qaeda and Al-Nusra Front attract them to participate in terrorist operations. Terrorist organizations rely on women because they are not suspected, which makes their tasks easier. Women are used to conduct suicide attacks, intelligence operations, or even to fulfil sexual needs of terrorist men.

Women Battalion Moved from Syria to Iraq and then Libya

Badra Kaaloul, a Tunisian university professor and president of the International Center for Strategic and Military Studies, says that women within terrorist groups have many roles; they promote extremist spirit and ideas, and recruit other women and even men and youth.

The recruitment depends on family and friends’ ties, and it is more active in remote and low-class places where recruitment takes place in mosques, societies, funerals and places where marginalized and vulnerable women are found.

After studying the involvement in these terrorist organizations, “ISIS” formed a women’s battalion called the “Al-Khansa Brigade” led by Umm Rayan, Qaaloul added. This came after members of the organization were ambushed by suicide women bombers veiled and wearing black gowns, therefore, ISIS formed the women battalion so women can search all the women to avoid similar attacks.

Before ISIS elimination in Raqqa, ISIS started women patrols there.

Sources indicated that the battalion of the “Al-Khansa Brigade,” is led by a Tunisian woman named Umm Rayan, who is the wife of one of ISIS leaders in Raqqa, and she is a Tunisian who came from Iraq to Raqqa with her husband, among dozens of ISIS members after getting her daughters married to senior officials in the organization, then moved to Libya.

The main task of the battalion is to deploy in the streets, verify the identity of women, and arrest those who violate ISIS’s instructions in the city.

The Al-Khansa Women Brigade was established in the beginning of 2014, and it is made up of Tunisian, European, Chechen and other nationalities. It started as a group deployed in the streets and markets and enters homes to preach women. Then they were conducting punishments and then torture. Their mission after that was participating in the battles, in addition to their original tasks. The battalion also has active participation in Internet platforms. Since the battalion was formed, it undertook the task of pursuing women who violated the laws of ISIS in the region, and then they started training women’s groups to carry weapons in special camps surrounded by a lot of secrecy and mystery. The battalion is mainly formed of European women, especially British and French, while Gulf women are not welcome, despite their presence, as many of them escape.

Supervising Military Affairs

The superficial tasks of that battalion are limited to the affairs of some offices but not all; however, many European and Arab immigrant women undergo military training in addition to learning the fundamentals of extremist ideology in special camps distributed between Iraq and Syria.

ISIS has set the conditions for women’s affiliation to this battalion, foremost among which is that women should be single. The organization later surpassed this requirement due to its need to intensify women’s work. The female soldier receives 25,000 Syrian pounds per month, equivalent to 20 USD. The number of women in Al-Khansaa battalion formed by the extremist organization is estimated at 200 women.

 Umm Al-Rayan is in charge of supervising whipping the women who violate the rules in the city, while Umm Laith is considered the most famous British woman involved in the battalion who works in the Internet department, along with others known by the nicknames: Umm Haritha, Umm Waqas and Umm Ubaidah.

Although the battalion is located in Syria, it moved to fight in Kobani to hit Kurdish targets. One of the female suicide bombers blew herself up in the municipality building in Kobani.

Leaders of the battalion, headed by Umm Rayan, have recently moved to Libya to form a branch there, which includes many Tunisian, Libyan, Algerian and Moroccan nationalities.

The Al-Khansaa brigade published a guide that includes laws of dealing with non-Muslim women in particular, in addition to some other fatwas, such as the marriage of apostate women who were born as Muslim. According to the latest data, there are “war princesses” who supervise military affairs in a specialized way and this is different from the rest of their usual tasks.

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