August 31, 2004: Suicide bombing at Moscow metro

On this day in 2004, a female Islambouli Brigades suicide bomber detonated a bomb outside a Moscow metro killing ten.

Cherchez la femme may be an old trope, but it does apply to terrorism sometimes.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Why is it that our first thoughts of terrorists always go to the male side of the gender divide? What does it say about our predilections about those who are capable of carrying out serious acts of violence in our society. Surely, women are equally prone to such acts? (I’ll leave that question to biologists and sociologists)

By all general accounts though, I think it is a safe working assumption that most terrorists are indeed male. This is especially true of jihadis and a large part of that bias is their overall misogyny. These wankers are a nasty bunch of woman haters: Islamic State (ISIS) treatment of Yazidi girls and women is a strong case in point.

Still, sometimes even Islamist extremists will deploy women, often as suicide bombers. Why? The answer is not rocket science. Women may be see as less likely to carry out attacks. There may be social nervousness at carrying out body pat downs against women. Women are seen as ‘nurturers’ not ‘destoyers’.

On this day in 2004

And yet they do indeed carry out large attacks. On this day in 2004 a female suicide bomber detonated a device outside a Moscow metro station, killing 10 and injuring another 50. The Islambuli Brigades, an Islamist extremist group, claimed responsibility. The attacker apparently wanted to blow herself up inside but feared that she would be detected and searched by police outside.

Russia has suffered a lot of Islamist attacks, many stemming from that country’s brutal policies in predominantly Muslim areas of Central Asia. And a fair number of those attacks were executed by women.

In this case it was truly a need to ‘cherchez la femme’, but perhaps more accurately ‘cherchez la femme body parts’. Ewwww!

By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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