"She confessed to training more than 28 female suicide bombers, all of whom conducted terrorist operations in different parts of Iraq," al-Moussawi said.  

He said she had recruited more than 80 women from Baghdad and the northern province of Diyala for carrying out suicide attacks.

'Mother of believers'

In the video, Jassim, whose nickname Umm al-Mumineen translates as "the mother of believers", said it took her two weeks to recruit a teacher who had problems with her husband and his family.

“I met Amal and we stayed together for more than two weeks. I talked to her until I convinced her she was in a bad situation - as she had been treated badly by her husband and brothers.

"She was mentally exhausted. I then took her to see my contacts, then received her back from them at the same delivery place. This is where she then blew herself up".

In an interview with the Associated Press news agency, Jassim said she helped to plan rapes of young women in Diyala and then stepped in to persuade the victims to become suicide bombers as their only escape from the shame.

Jassim, who is a mother of six, said Ansar al-Sunnah provided her a house in Diyala, where she operated a shop selling the traditional robes for women called abayas.

She said that Ansar al-Sunnah once threatened to bomb her house if she did not co-operate.

"I worked with [Ansar al-Sunnah] for a year and a half," she told the Associated Press.

New strategy

US military commanders say that armed groups in Iraq have started to recruit female suicide bombers as a tactic to avoid detection at male-guarded checkpoints.

Iraqi women are often allowed to pass through these checkpoints without being searched, dressed in wide black robes that make it easier to hide explosives.

In response, Iraqi security forces have tried to recruit more women.

Around 500 female police officers graduated from the police academy in Baghdad last week, and in Saturday's provincial elections, female teachers and civic workers were on duty to search voters.

Female suicide bombers attempted or successfully carried out 32 attacks last year, compared with eight in 2007, according to US military figures.