Thousands of Iranian female ninjas train as assassins

    8:55 AM, Feb 16, 2012   |    comments
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    KARAJ, Iran (CBS) -- Scores of black-clad "ninja" fighters, with their dusky eyes peeping through masks, march towards the front-line of a studio tucked away in the outskirts of the Iranian capital.

    These are ninjas with a difference. Some 3,000 women in the Islamic state are being trained as lethal warriors at a school, which was set up by ninja master and trainer Akbar Faraji 23 years ago.

    Using traditional Japanese martial arts techniques, these women ax kick, forward punch, and occasionally wield their swords at each other.

    Similar to scenes often seen in high-budget Hollywood blockbusters, some of these women can even walk up a straight wall.

    These martial artists, whose ages range from 5 to 56 years of age, are preparing to defend their country.

    "What is important to me, as an Iranian and as a teacher, is that I have to do this job so we train women to have strength and ability. We have to do everything (in our power) to protect our homeland," said Faraji in an interview with Reuters television.

    As Israel, Tehran's archenemy since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, steps up threats of an attack, these deadly warriors say they are prepared to be called upon to defend the Islamic state.

    "What we're seeing in the world of fitness and sports is the opportunity to receive training which increases our self-defense abilities and strengthens our bodies, so we are ready to defend our lives and assets," said 28 year-old ninjutsu Raheleh Davoudzadeh.

    Another fighter, who has been training for over 13 years, said: "Our aim is for Iranian women to be strengthened and if a problem arises, we will definitely declare our readiness to defend our Islamic homeland."

    The ninja lifestyle has also leaked into the homes of many of these women whose husbands also train alongside them with great discipline.

    Iran has proclaimed advances in nuclear know-how - including new centrifuges able to enrich uranium much faster - a move that may heighten its confrontation with the West over suspicions it is seeking the means to make atomic bombs.

    The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action against Iran if diplomacy and sanctions fail.

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