August 6th, 2012
01:00 AM ET

Analysis: Women and children constitute the new faces of terror

Editor’s note: Mia Bloom is an associate professor of international studies at Penn State University and author of "Bombshell: The Many Faces of Women Terrorists (2011)" and "Dying to Kill: the Allure of Suicide Terror (2005)."

By Mia Bloom, Special to CNN

Before his death during an American raid in 2011, Osama bin Laden's public statements often called on the young people of Muslim countries to rise up against their rulers.

In the documents released in May that were taken from his Abbottabad compound, bin Laden admits that "most of the work in Afghanistan [has] turned to the goal of luring and preparing the youth."

Terrorists do not fit a particular profile. No longer can we expect them to look a certain way, be of a certain age or indeed even that they be men.

For example, at least a dozen women in the Sunni triangle of Iraq targeted American military personnel and Iraqi civilians in "martyrdom operations" - especially from 2006 to 2008. In May 2008, a woman feigning pregnancy killed 36 people during a wedding reception in Balad.

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Filed under: Terrorism