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Iraqi women join battle against Islamic State

In response to the exploitation of women by the Islamic State as part of their "sexual jihad," women across Iraq are taking up arms in increasing numbers in the fight against the militant group.
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BAGHDAD — Miad Jubouri, an Iraqi mother of five who joined the ranks of the Iraqi forces battling the Islamic State (IS), has been participating in the battle as part of the Lions of the Tigris faction for the past two years. In a patriotic and conservative Iraqi society, Jubouri’s fight alongside the male-dominated Iraqi security forces has caught the attention of both the community and the media.

While Jubouri's participation on the battlefield is striking due to the conservative nature of Iraqi society, this phenomenon is on the rise. The number of women who have joined the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) have increased, totaling roughly 3,000 women. In this context, Fatima Sultani, a PMU trainee, told Al-Monitor that women in the PMU provide “service, media and medical assistance,” in reference to women’s roles in the security forces being mostly limited to logistical support.

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