The Islamic State in Libya is pulling its female recruits from the kitchen and placing them alongside men on the battlefield, according to a Tunisian family whose daughters have joined the terror group.
Olfa Hamrouni, a Tunisian woman from the Hay al-Tadamon district whose two daughters, Rahma, 17, and Ghofran, 19, left home to go to Libya, told The UK Times that ISIS gave her children weapons training, and that “Rahma left Tunisia with the goal of executing a suicidal mission – she openly talked about wanting to blow herself up.”
Women from countries such as Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia who have traditionally been recruited to ‘populate the Caliphate,’ often subjected to forced marriages and sex slavery, are now undergoing a three-week course involving weapons and suicide bombing training, according to The UK Times.
“At first they wanted to use them for sex. But my daughter said there are hundreds of women that fight with men,” Hamrouni added.
Children as young as 15 are also preyed upon by the Islamic State’s female Tunisian recruiters who can earn up to $3,000 for each successful recruit.
“I am extremely worried my youngest daughters – and other women – will follow their path,” Hamrouni said about the consequences of recruitment networks remaining intact.
Approximately 700 Tunisian women have traveled to Iraq and Syria to join female-only ISIS units such as the notorious Al-Khansaa Brigade, according to Samira Merai, Tunisia’s minister for women’s affairs.
The Syrian branch of the Al-Khansaa Brigade is largely made up of foreign jihadi women from North Africa, Europe and other Persian Gulf countries, and 60 of them are believed to be from the United Kingdom.
The Foreign Desk previously reported on a key member of the Al-Khansaa Brigade, 20-year-old Aqsa Mahmood from the U.K., who has been seen posting instructions and checklists for young schoolgirls on what to pack before leaving their families to join ISIS.
Arriving in Libya in October 2014, the number of ISIS militants has doubled to 6,000 within the last year, according to head of U.S. Africa Command General David Rodriguez. Along with their training camps near Sabratha, ISIS now controls over 150 miles of land around the central Libyan city of Sirte as well.