Report: Islamic State Training Female Recruits for Combat in Libya

Palestinian female militants of the Islamic Jihad hold their weapons during a rally marking the 26th anniversary of the movement's foundation and marking the 18th anniversary of the death of the group's leader Fathi Shikaki, in Gaza City, Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. Shikaki, the founder of the Islamic Jihad group, …
AP Photo/Hatem Moussa

A Tunisian recruit told The London Times that the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) is training a female jihadi army in Libya.

“We estimate they are now 1,000 women, 300 of them Tunisian, with Isis in Libya, they have different roles including fighting,” explained Badra Gaaloul, a women’s researcher at the International Centre of Strategic, Security and Military Studies. “There are women from Egypt, Syria and Morocco and a lot from Sudan, but the most ruthless are thought to be from Tunisia.”

Olfa Hamrouni has two daughters in the Islamic State. From The London Times:

Rahma, 17, a schoolgirl, ran away to marry an Isis commander, Noureddine Chouchane, who planned attacks in October last year on Tunisia’s National Bardo Museum and Sousse beach resort in which 60 tourists, including 30 Britons, died. He was killed in February by an US strike on a training camp in Libya.

Rahma and her sister Ghofran, 19, who had a four-month-old baby with another Isis leader, were rounded up in subsequent police raids.

Rahma has called her parents from prison. She told them the Islamic State has used “hundreds of women” in jihad.

“At first they wanted to use them for sex. But my daughter said there are hundreds of women that fight with men,” recounted her mother. “Both Ghofran and Rahma received training in weapons. Rahma left Tunisia with the goal of executing a suicidal mission — she openly talked about wanting to blow herself up.”

In March, The London Times reported that authorities arrested seven women while attacks killed three in Sabratha, located 50 miles from Tripoli.

“Several female operatives have been killed [this week], fighting alongside the men. One of them tried to blow herself up, wearing an explosive vest,” explained Taher al-Gharabli, head of Libya’s military council.

He believes the fighters come from Tunisia.

“The women mostly handle the logistics of the battle but they are also fighting,” said Hussein al-Thwadi, mayor of Sabratha.

Women have joined the Islamic State in large numbers since the rise of the terrorist organization in Syria and Iraq. Until now, however, no evidence existed that the terrorist group allowed women to fight alongside male jihadis on the battlefield because they are not allowed on the front lines of the holy war. Females have expressed their desire to participate in jihad and murders, especially after the Islamic State executed American journalist James Foley. One female Islamic State follower, for example, posted a picture of a Western woman and told her followers she wanted to chop off her head.

The Islamic State established the al-Khansaa Brigade as a way to enforce Sharia law without having jihadis touch women, which violates their own law. The group made headlines in December 2014 when the group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently reported that its women used torture devices on other women who disobey Sharia law. They use a bear trap called a “biter” on women’s breasts, which causes “severe pain and wounds [which] may lead women in some cases to be transported to the hospital.” A woman told the group the terrorists used it on her when they caught her breastfeeding her baby in public.