The number of female suicide bombers has more than tripled in Iraq — from 8 in 2007 to 29 so far this year — according to US military officials. This alarming increase is noticeable in northern Iraq, where violence continues at high levels.

Just this week, a female suicide bomber killed six people and wounded 54 in an attack on an outdoor market in Tal Afar, in Turkomen province. This is the second suicide bomb in that market in a month — the first one killed 28 people and injured 72. It goes without saying that most of the people shopping in a market are innocent women trying to buy food ingredients to cook supper.

Meanwhile in Baghdad yesterday, another suicide bomber struck a convoy carrying former deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi, The bomber missed Chalabi but killed his 6 bodyguards. Before the war, Chalabi was one of the voices who insisted that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, an argument that precipitated the US invasion.

According to the Iraqi police, one of the difficulties they face in maintaining security is the growing number of women who are carrying out suicide missions. Some of these are almost children — Kurdish authorities captured a 17-year old girl wearing an explosives vest in Irbil province. They are being hideously exploited by cowardly extremists.

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