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Rise of the female jihadists

A number of women from the West, both American and European, are taking operational roles in jihadist terrorist plots.

As CNN’s Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider report, “It’s a strange kind of jihadist female equal opportunity: You too can be part of the holy war that seeks to install a Taliban-style utopia that will ensure you can never have a job or get an education.”

According to data collected by New America, based on media reports and court documents, of the 455 individuals who have been publicly identified from around the world who have traveled or were arrested while attempting to travel to Syria to fight with a terrorist organization, 36 were women from the West. That’s 8%. And their average age is, astonishingly, only 18 years.

And in many cases, these Western women are often going to Syria with the fantasy that there they will be able to marry the jihadist militant of their dreams.

Several of these aspiring jihadist brides are Americans. In October, three teenage girls from Colorado were intercepted at Frankfurt Airport in Germanyas they were trying to make their way to Syria to join ISIS. Their parents tipped off the FBI when they went missing.

And a 19-year-old from Colorado was arrested at Denver International Airport before she departed on her journey to join an ISIS camp near the Turkish-Syrian border. She planned to marry a member of ISIS whom she had met online. She pleaded guilty in September.