Iraqi Woman Confesses on Jordan TV

The distaff half of the would-be husband-wife suicide team, who survived after her bomb failed to go off, has confessed live on Jordanian television.

Iraqi Woman Confesses on Jordan TV (AP)

Strapped with a disabled explosives belt, an Iraqi woman arrested Sunday confessed on television to trying to blow herself up with her husband in one of three suicide attacks earlier this week that killed 57 people. The 35-year-old woman — the sister of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s right-hand man who was killed by U.S. forces in Iraq — appeared on Jordanian state TV hours after she was captured by security forces who were tipped off by an al-Qaida claim that a husband-and-wife team participated in Wednesday’s bombings.

Looking nervous and wringing her hands, Sajida Mubarak Atrous al-Rishawi, 35, described how she failed to blow herself up during a wedding reception at the Radisson SAS hotel on Wednesday night after struggling with the cord on her explosives belt. “My husband wore an (explosives-packed) belt and put one on me. He taught me how to use it,” al-Rishawi said, wearing a white head scarf, a black gown and a disabled bomb belt tied around her waist. “My husband detonated (his bomb) and I tried to explode my belt but it wouldn’t,” she said. “People fled running and I left running with them.”

Deputy Prime Minister Marwan Muasher said the belt she wore in the broadcast was the same one she tried to use in the attack. “The vest was caught with her,” he told CNN. Her husband, Ali Hussein Ali al-Shamari, 35, was identified Sunday as one of three Iraqi men who carried out the bombings. The Grand Hyatt and Days Inn hotels also were bombed.

Muasher said the confession offered further proof that the attacks were the work of al-Qaida in Iraq, which has claimed responsibility. Muasher said the woman was wearing two vests, one packed with explosives and the other with ball bearings to inflict maximum damage. “This technique was used in all three of the attacks,” he told CNN.

A mixed blessing, I suppose. On the one hand, her bomb not going off probably saved lives and might give the Jordanians useful intelligence against Zarqawi. On the other hand, she is alive.

See also: Jordan Suicide-Bombers Include Husband and Wife Team

FILED UNDER: Uncategorized, , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. guido says:

    Zarqawi – I can’t help but believe that he is not long for this world. Al Qaeda must be contemplating putting a hit on him if the Saddahm loyalists don’t beat them to it. He was given a warning.

  2. Herb says:

    The world can thank Europes favorite son, Yassar Arafat, for the suicide belts worn by so many in Israel. I hope the holes burn in Hell for their misdeeds on innocent men, women and children. They are the scum of the earth.

  3. Richard Gardner says:

    A quick check shows the death penalty is permitted in Jordan, and premeditated murder is one of the offenses (9 executed this year per Amnesty Int’l). Perhaps she will soon be joining her husband.

  4. jimbo says:

    I wonder if she just got cold feet at the last minute, but will not admit it because someone would kill her for disobeying her husband. After all, if she gets a “fair” trial she has a chance of getting off. She might be able to avoid the death penalty and bargain a plea in return for giving details about the operation. This whole thing looks like a major blunder by Zarqawi. Why did he do it? Thus far the “street” has been indifferent to the deaths of innocent Arabs, even children, at Zarqawi’s hands in Iraq. This might turn the tide. And as Jordan’s population is predominately Palestinian, some of them might realize the horror of what some Palestinians have been inflicting on Israel.

  5. M. Murcek says:

    With the arab world’s predisposition to abusing women on display to the world for all to see, execution is the best she can hope for. That is, unless some US feminist group starts collecting for her defense fund. That idiocy is also on display for all the world to see…