ISIS have changed their policy of not allowing women to take up combat roles within the terrorist group for the first time, reports suggest.
It’s claimed that three female ISIS jihadists were killed and seven arrested in Libya last week, with one reportedly being an attempted suicide bomber.
This comes alongside claims that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, chief of the Islamic State jihadist group, has appointed an all-female battalion to fight in northeastern Syria, according to Al Arabiya News.
They say the branch is commanded by female Saudi, Nada al-Qahtani, who joined the terrorist group in 2013. She pledged her allegiance to become a suicide bomber on Twitter at the time, but now heads up the all-female battalion fighting in Hasakeh, the capital city of the Syrian province of the same name.
Qahtani, who has previously been reported to be recruiting female members of ISIS, met twice with Baghadadi and other ISIS leaders, and is set to “play a prominent role on the level of communicating with foreign fighters,” the report said.
It’s a surprising development from the terrorist group, who have widely been reported to put women through abuse and mass rape, as well as turning captive females into sex slaves.
There had been a previous move towards women taking up internal combative roles, as an all-female group called the Al-Khansaa brigade had been reported to be patrolling the streets of Raqqa enforcing Sharia law. Their role was to ensure women were adhering to strict ISIS policies for female attire and were accompanied by a man in public at all times.
Reports aren’t clear as to how an all-female group could possibly manage to ensure that women on the streets of Raqqa are accompanied by a man at all times.
The reports of women taking up combat roles come after claims that ISIS are facing severe budget cuts, with fighters losing a lot of the ‘perks’ of the job – which supposedly included free energy drinks and candy bars – as well as halving the salaries of anyone employed by them.
Baghdadi’s wife of five months, German teenager Diane Kruger, was also reported to have fled Iraq with two other women earlier this week. It is unknown why Kruger wanted to escape, but the ISIS chief is said to have dispatched troops to bring her back.
News of ISIS’ change in policy towards women in combat roles comes as Muslim leaders from Britain are reported to be going to Iraq for eight days to see the front line of the war on the terror group, in an attempt to counter ISIS propaganda in the UK.
Loaded reporter Robert McCallum has written for many leading culture magazines and websites about music, sport, science, politics, fashion and arts. Follow Robert at @therobmccallum