Female Jihadists demand right to fight
In an interview posted on an extremist website, he claimed that al-Qaeda does not have any women in its terrorist network.
Female al-Qaeda supporters anonymously replied to his comments with internet petitions pleading to let them join the terrorist organisation’s ranks.
“When Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahri said there are no women in al-Qaeda, he saddened and hurt me,” wrote one woman, who used the pseudonym Rabeebat al-Silah, Arabic for Companion of Weapons.
Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group, an organisation that monitors militant websites, said: “Women were very disappointed because what al-Zawahri said is not what's happening today in the Middle East, especially in Iraq or in Palestinian groups.”
“Suicide operations are being carried out by women, who play an important role in jihad,” she said.
In Iraq, women have carried out or attempted at least 20 suicide bombings since 2003.
There are religious taboos in Iraq against involving women in fighting. But as security tightens, extremists are desperately recruiting females and youths to stage suicide attacks, according to Associated Press.
Women can avoid thorough searches at checkpoints because of Islamic sensitivities.
Those bent on becoming militants can always turn to the internet. A niche magazine has popped up online with articles on women's terrorist training camps, according to SITE.
Its first issue, with a hot pink cover and gold embossed lettering, appeared in 2004 with the lead article “Biography of the Female Mujahadeen.”