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Failed Iraqi Teen Suicide Bomber Sentenced

BAGHDAD (Reuters) -- A teenage girl caught wearing a vest packed with explosives in an aborted suicide attack in Iraq last year has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison, a court official has said.

Then 15 years old, Rania Ibrahim was arrested in August 2008 in Iraq's northeastern Diyala Province, whose uneasy mix of Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims had given rise to some of the worst sectarian violence in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

U.S. military officials had described Ibrahim previously as an "unwilling" suicide bomber, as did the girl herself in a TV interview.

"Diyala juvenile court has ruled to convict the minor Rania Ibrahim and sentences her to seven years and six months.... The sentence is initial and can be appealed," an Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council official said on August 4, declining to be named.

The sentence was handed down on August 3.

Initial reports said Ibrahim had given herself up, but police later said she had been searched and they had found the vest. Many suicide bombers detonate themselves when discovered.

Television footage at the time showed Iraqi forces gingerly approaching a visibly distraught Ibrahim to remove the suicide vest.

She said her husband had introduced her to someone claiming to be her relative, who had put the vest on her. She said she had felt dizzy and sick for days and police said she seemed drugged by a sedative when they arrested her.