(U//FOUO) TSA Female Suicide Bombers History Overview

Office of Law Enforcement
Federal Air Marshal Service

  • 91 pages
  • For Official Use Only
  • Law Enforcement Sensitive
  • October 2006


Why Females?

  • Terrorist organizations use females because:
  • Like most suicide operations, it’s usually simple to plan and low costing.
  • In some parts of the world, females have low social status and therefore are considered more expendable.
  • Females tend to be more emotional and therefore easier to indoctrinate.
  • Since bombers will most likely perish in the attack, there is little fear of them divulging information to security forces.
  • Tamil “Black Tigers” carry cyanide pills just in case.
  • Most are deliberately uninvolved in the planning in case of capture.
  • The media coverage is extensive, especially if the attacker is female.
  • Terrorists attempt to embarrass a powerful enemy and show the world that things are desperate that women are now fighting.
  • Most importantly, females have the element of surprise!!
  • Stealthier attack (tend to draw less attention); in fact on several occasions many female bombers spoke English & wore western clothing & makeup during the attack.
  • Sensitivities in searching women (especially in conservative societies).
  • Female stereotype (e.g. perceived as nonviolent, feminine, or motherly).
  • Women increase the number of combatants to a groups’ depleted manpower.
  • There is greater publicity for female bombers (attracts recruits).
  • The psychological fear factor of the target (expect anyone can be a bomber).

Share this: