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Page last updated at 18:16 GMT, Tuesday, 4 August 2009 19:16 UK

Iraq 'suicide bomber', 16, jailed

By Natalia Antelava
BBC News, Baghdad

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A juvenile court in Iraq's Diyala province has sentenced a 16-year-old girl to seven-and-a-half years in prison for an attempted suicide attack.

Rania Ibrahim was arrested in August 2008 in Baqouba, capital of Diyala province, considered to be a stronghold of al-Qaeda.

Video of the arrest shows police removing her long dress to reveal what appears to be a suicide belt.

She said a relative of her husband had told her to wear the vest.

In the police video, Rania, with dark curls around a chubby, childish face, looks confused.

Later in the footage she tells the police chief that she did not know what was going on, and police said that the girl appeared to have been drugged.

Rania left school when she was 11. Five months before the arrest she was sold into marriage.

'Told to wait'

It was a relative of her husband, she told police, who told her to put the vest on and wait outside for further instructions.

It is not clear what led to her capture, and initial reports suggested that she gave herself up.

The US military has described her as an "unwilling suicide bomber" forced or tricked into staging a suicide attack.

But a year after her arrest, she was found guilty by the Diyala juvenile court.

Rania Ibrahim's story is not unique. Dozens of teenagers, both girls and boys, were used in suicide attacks in Iraq in the years following the US invasion.



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