And why would this be surprising, in light of this? From CNN, :
WASHINGTON (CNN) — A veiled shadow in a doorway of Beslan School Number One; delicate, slumped bodies in Moscow theater seats; the soft, youthful face in a suicide bomber’s farewell video — These images are gripping and contradictory.
“We still have difficulty imagining women as killers rather than as mothers,” explains Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert with the RAND Corp.
Start imagining it, the experts tell us, because it’s happening more and more.
Female terrorists participated in the hostage standoff this month at a school in southern Russia, where large numbers of children were among the more than 300 dead; in a suicide-bomb attack at a Moscow subway days earlier; in the near-simultaneous bombings of two planes in Russia last month; and in the standoff at a Moscow theater in October, 2002, that left 170 people dead.
Authorities believe women played central roles in all those incidents.
In Russia, the profile seems more consistent. These women are all believed to be Chechen — some of them, experts say, are so-called “Black Widows.”
“They are widows of men who fought in the war and were killed but most of them have had their whole families exterminated by the Russian Army in this conflict,” says Svante Cornell of Johns Hopkins University.