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MONCEAU-SUR-SAMBRE, Belgium - Authorities have identified a woman who carried out a suicide attack against a U.S. patrol in Iraq as a 38-year-old Belgian who had two marriages to radical Muslim men.
Muriel Degauque, who grew up near the industrial city of Charleroi, entered Iraq from Syria last month and detonated explosives strapped to her body in a failed attack against U.S. troops.
Her mother, Liliane Degauque, told Belgian TV networks that her daughter was "so nice" — but began to change when she married an Algerian man and turned to Islamic fundamentalism.
The case underscored the growing reach of international terrorism.
"It is the first time that we see that a Western woman, a Belgian, marrying a radical Muslim, and is converted up to the point of becoming a jihad fighter," federal police director Glenn Audenaert said.
In her younger years, Degauque lived a conventional life in southern Belgium. Media reports said she finished high school before taking on several jobs, including selling bread in a bakery. They also said she had run into problems with drugs and alcohol as an adolescent.