Hundreds of Islamic State (Isis) jihadi brides are being promoted from 'wifely duties' to jihadi militants after combat training in Libya. According to reports from neighbouring Tunisia, many of the women will be used by the extremists as suicide bombers as they attempt to keep a stranglehold of the northern coast of the African country.
Libya has been in a state of turmoil since the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Daesh (Isis) entered the country in 2014 and now control around 155 miles of the Mediterranean coast in Muammar Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte and Derna where they have declared the creation of Wilyat Barqa (province of Barqa) in eastern Libya, an "Islamic emirate".
Isis has established training camps around Sabratha and other areas in the east of the country with an estimated 6,000, fighters believed to be active there. Experts believe that up to 1,000 women are with the extremists in the region.
Some of the women are thought to have a little more than a few weeks training before they begin fighting for the jihadists. "We estimate there are now 1,000 women, 300 of them Tunisian, with Isis in Libya. They have different roles including fighting," Badra Gaaloul, a women's researcher at the International Centre of Strategic, Security and Military Studies, based in Tunis, told The Times.
"There are women from Egypt, Syria and Morocco and a lot from Sudan, but the most ruthless are thought to be from Tunisia," she added. Some are tempted to fight aged just 15 from Tunisia where authorities have battled threats from Islamist militants for decades. The newspaper spoke to a Tunisian women whose two daughters have joined Isis.
Olfa Hamrouni, from Tunis, said that one of her daughters, Rahma, 17, has called home after being captured in police raids. She said: "At first they wanted to use them for sex. But my daughter said there are hundreds of women that fight with men. I am extremely worried my youngest daughters — and other women — will follow their path."
Libya stands on the brink of Western intervention as the UK, France, US and Italy plan to deploy up to 6,000 troops to Libya to battle the jihadists. A controversial new unity government was formed last week with the help of the UN.
Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, this week travelled to Libya to meet the leaders of the new Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA). During his visit he said that the UK would contribute to an international effort in the war-torn country, but ruled out UK ground troops being deployed in the country in a combat role.