February 24, 2009 Special Dispatch No. 2057

15-Year-Old Iraqi Would-Be Suicide Bomber Tells Her Story on Iraq TV

February 24, 2009
Iraq | Special Dispatch No. 2057

Following are excerpts from an interview with 15-year-old Rania, an Iraqi girl who attempted to carry out a suicide bombing, and with her mother. The interview aired on Al-Baghdadiya TV on September 1, 2008.

To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit

'Who Strapped The Explosives Belt On You?' 'Umm Fatima'

Interviewer: "Ranya, how old are you?"

Ranya: "I'm 15 years old."

Interviewer: "How long have you been married?"

Ranya: "Nine months."


Interviewer: "How are you doing financially?"

Ranya: "Very well."

Interviewer: "Are your parents alive or dead?"

Ranya: "My mother is still alive."

Interviewer: "And your father?"

Ranya: "He was kidnapped."

Interviewer: "Who kidnapped him?"

Ranya: "We were told it was the militias in Abu Saida."

Interviewer: "After your father was kidnapped, who provided for the family? You said you have an older brother?"

Ranya: "Yes."

Interviewer: "What is your brother's role in the family?"

Ranya: "He used to provide for us, but then the police took him."

Interviewer: "Do you go to school?"

Ranya: "I dropped out in the fifth grade."


Interviewer: "You were married at the age of 14, against your will, as you said. You did not choose this man. How much older than you is your husband? Don't you know his age?"

Ranya: "He was born in 1985, and he is 23 years old."

Interviewer: "So he was 23 years old, and you were 14 years old."

Ranya: "So he is about 12 years older than me."

Interviewer: "What was your life like with your husband? In your spare time, you used to sit and chat. What would he talk to you about?"


Ranya: "He used to talk to me about... Not only about religion, but also..."

Interviewer: "Your husband is religious?"

Ranya: "Yes, he used to pray."

Interviewer: "Do you remember what the explosives belt looked like?"

Ranya: "I don't remember what it looked like. They took it away."

Interviewer: "Who strapped it on you?"

Ranya: "Umm Fatima."

Interviewer: "Who is this Umm Fatima?"

Ranya: "[My husband] Muhammad said: 'This is my cousin.'"

'After You Drank The Peach Juice And Ate The Bread, You Felt Dizzy?' 'Yes'

Interviewer: "His relatives? It was his cousins who strapped the belt around your waist?"

Ranya: "Yes."

Interviewer: "Did you know where you were going, and what you were going to do?"

Ranya: "No, I left the house with them."

Interviewer: "They were with you?"

Ranya: "Yes, one of them was."

Interviewer: "Where did they tell you to go?"

Ranya: "They didn't tell me. I was with her, then she stayed in the market to do the shopping, and I left."

Interviewer: "This strange thing that they strapped on your waist – you didn't know what it was?"

Ranya: "No, I didn't know."

Interviewer: "You didn't ask them why they were putting the belt on you?"

Ranya: "No, I didn't ask, but before she put it on me, she gave me a can of peach juice and some bread."


Interviewer: "After you drank the peach juice and ate the bread, you felt dizzy?"

Ranya: "Yes."

Interviewer: "When you were dizzy, could you still see clearly? Could you see people clearly?"

Ranya: "No, I saw double."

Interviewer: "Did your husband know you were putting on the belt?"

Ranya: "He was in the same house, but I don't know whether he knew." [...]

'They Said To Me: You Won't Blow Up'

Interviewer: "Ranya, were you aware of the outcome of your actions?"

Ranya: "No."

Interviewer: "Were you aware that as a suicide bomber, not a single piece of your body would remain intact, and that you would be killing innocent people? Could this Ranya, this little child who loves everybody, possibly kill 50 or 60 people?

Could you imagine this happening because of your doings and the belt you wore?"

Ranya: "But they said to me: 'You won't blow up. So long as you don't play with it, you won't blow up.' When I saw the wires, I asked them. They said: 'It won't blow up. So long as you don't play with it, it won't blow up.'"

Interviewer: "But didn't you ask them what the belt was for?"

Ranya: "No." [...]

Interviewer: "Why did your family marry you off – was it for money or for another reason? You did not want to get married. Why did you they marry you off?"

Ranya: "My mother's financial situation was not good, and my cousin said she knew the guy."

Interviewer: "So your husband was a stranger. He is not related to you?"

Ranya: "No. I did not know him."


Interviewer: "Ranya, before you carried out the operation, and before Widad and Fatima strapped the explosives belt onto you, where was your husband?"

Ranya: "In the house."

Interviewer: "So when you put on the belt and went out, he was present?"

Ranya: "Yes." [...]

Interviewer: 'Umm Ranya, You Are Accused Of Being An Emir In Al-Qaeda'

Second interviewer: "Umm Ranya, you are accused of being an Emir in Al-Qaeda."

Ranya's mother: "This is nonsense. I don't know anything about the jihad or Al-Qaeda."

Interviewer: "But some women said you recruited them and drew up plans for them. Is this correct?"

Ranya's mother: "Who told you that?"

Interviewer: "Many did."

Ranya's mother: "Impossible."


Interviewer: "If you met Muhammad, her husband, who was behind all this, how would react to him?"

Ranya's mother: "I would say: Hang him!"

Interviewer: "That would be your response?"

Ranya's mother: "Yes. I would say: Hang him. Don't let him breathe another hour."

Interviewer: "You came here for the interrogation..."

Ranya's mother: "If he really did it..."

Interviewer: "What do you mean 'if?'"

Ranya's mother: "He didn't strap the belt on her, but if he was responsible..."


Interviewer: "So you doubt your daughter's account of the events?"

Ranya's mother: "I don't know. She didn't say that her husband knew about this. She said her husband was in another room when they strapped the belt on her."

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