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History’s most dangerous female assassins: From the ‘real-life Killing Eve’ who killed 23 for Basque ETA terrorists and North Korean who killed 115 to the brutal Mexican warlord who murdered drugs rivals and police

Photos revealed today by the Daily Mail show the apparently unassuming American female tourist who led a secret double life as a would-be assassin.

Aimee Betro, 44, flew from her native Milwaukee to kill boutique clothing store owner Sikander Ali on the orders of rival Mohammed Aslam, 56, and his son Mohammed Nazir, 30.

During a trial in Britain, I heard how the hitman, who worked as an administrator for the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team, disguised herself in a hijab before trying to shoot Ali outside a house in Acocks Green, Birmingham, on September 7, 2019.

But Betro is just one of a terrifying lineup of high-profile female assassins responsible for multiple deaths.

Idoia Lopez Riano: Psychopath with a penchant for luring police officers into bed

Idoia Lopez Riano became the world’s most wanted female assassin in the 1980s while committing atrocities for Eta, the Basque separatist group.

A green-eyed femme fatalle, she was the inspiration for Villanelle, the hitman played by Jodie Comer in the BBC drama Killing Eve.

In total, she killed 23, including 12 vigilantes, in one bomb attack. She was eventually caught in 1994 and sentenced to 1,500 years in prison, but she later renounced terror and walked free in 2017 at the age of 52.

Idoia Lopez Riano became the world's most wanted female assassin in the 1980s while committing atrocities for Eta, the Basque separatist group

Idoia Lopez Riano became the world’s most wanted female assassin in the 1980s while committing atrocities for Eta, the Basque separatist group

A sadistic penchant for luring police officers to bed before shooting their colleagues earned the discom-loving, disheveled killer the nickname ‘La Tigresa’.

Like Villanelle, she often paused to admire her reflection before executing her next victim. The similarities to Comer’s character are obvious, with the show’s writer Luke Jennings himself saying, “Riano was a psychopath and completely without empathy.”

As a child with piercing eyes and dark, wavy hair, Riano was “just one of the girls,” says her cousin, Jose Antonio Lopez, adding, “She was quite soft.”

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That changed in 1980 when the then 16-year-old Riano was recruited by Eta through a friend from the Basque town of Errenteria. She recorded her first murder at the age of 20.

It wasn’t long before her trademark green eyes and curls of hair began to dominate newspaper reports and her face appeared on Wanted posters in bars across Spain. Her mother said: ‘She got involved with the wrong people. I can’t say why, it just happened.’

Riano is handcuffed after arriving at Madrid-Barajas Airport on Wednesday, May 9, 2001, after being extradited from France

Riano is handcuffed after arriving at Madrid-Barajas Airport on Wednesday, May 9, 2001, after being extradited from France

Riano is handcuffed after arriving at Madrid-Barajas Airport on Wednesday, May 9, 2001, after being extradited from France

Riano showed a natural talent for terror and became a lieutenant in Eta’s cell in Madrid. In 1986, she played a key role in the bombing of the city’s Plaza Republica Dominicana, which killed 12 vigilantes, and in another car bombing that killed five guards.

After fleeing to Algeria for several years, she joined a notorious commando unit that carried out attacks in Barcelona, ​​Valencia, Alicante and Murcia, gaining an almost mythical reputation for ruthlessness.

But in a remarkable twist — one that even the imaginative Villanelle might never have imagined — Riano’s mother claimed in 2020 that her daughter now works for the Red Cross.

Speaking from her home in the small village of Villar de Ciervo, near the Portuguese border, Mari Riano said she is “proud” of her daughter who “changed things.”

She said: ‘She speaks three or four languages ​​and throws herself into work. Idoia is with the Red Cross in Barcelona. Everyone loves her there.”

Kim Hyun-hui: North Korean agent who killed 115 people before defecting

Kim Hyunhui in 2018

Kim Hyunhui in 2018

Kim Hyunhui in 2018

Kim Hyun-hui killed 115 people as an agent of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un’s father.

The mother of two was involved in the bombing of Korean Air Flight 858 from Baghdad to Seoul on November 29, 1987, which killed everyone on board.

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Kim was selected to join North Korea’s secret service at the age of 18 because of her ability to speak multiple languages. After rigorous training, she received her first assignment at the age of 25.

She and her fellow agent Kim Seung Il traveled to Austria and pretended to be a Japanese couple on vacation.

They picked up the bomb – a Panasonic radio packed with chemicals – in Vienna and took it to Baghdad airport.

The plan was nearly foiled when guards assessed the device before their flight.

One took out the batteries the bomb needed to explode and said Kim couldn’t take them on board.

Now pardoned, Kim works for South Korea’s National Intelligence Service and is writing her memoirs to warn the world of the threat from North Korea.

Kim was involved in the bombing of Korean Air Flight 858 from Baghdad to Seoul on November 29, 1987, which killed everyone on board

Kim was involved in the bombing of Korean Air Flight 858 from Baghdad to Seoul on November 29, 1987, which killed everyone on board

Kim was involved in the bombing of Korean Air Flight 858 from Baghdad to Seoul on November 29, 1987, which killed everyone on board

Maria Jiminez: Mexican cartel hitman who confessed to killing twenty people

Maria Jimenez, also known as La Tosca, was paid $1,700 (£1,300) a month to carry out murders for the Los Zetas drug cartel.

Mexico’s most prolific female assassin confessed to killing 20 people, including rival drug traffickers and a police officer, and was convicted in 2012.

Maria Jimenez was paid $1,700 (£1,300) a month to carry out murders against the Los Zetas drug cartel

Maria Jimenez was paid $1,700 (£1,300) a month to carry out murders against the Los Zetas drug cartel

Maria Jimenez was paid $1,700 (£1,300) a month to carry out murders against the Los Zetas drug cartel

She is said to have led a group of men, women and teenagers as Los Zetas battled their rivals in the Gulf Cartel for control over drug distribution and other criminal activities.

Her arrest came days after 23 people were found hanging from a bridge or beheaded and dumped along the border city of Nuevo Laredo.

Daria Trepova: Accused of bombings targeting Putin critic

Daria Trepova in court this year

Daria Trepova in court this year

Daria Trepova in court this year

Russian 26-year-old Daria Trepova was recently convicted of deliberately blowing up prominent Vladimir Putin propagandist Vladlen Tatarsky, 40, by handing him a bomb hidden in a statuette.

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Prosecutors say she deliberately passed the bomb to Tatarsky – whose real name was Maxim Fomin – in a St. Petersburg cafe on orders from Ukrainian intelligence.

Trepova insisted she believed the Tatarski statue contained a listening device and is therefore innocent of intentional murder.

She claimed that Ukraine believed she too would be killed – although despite being close to the blast, she was unharmed and fled the scene before being arrested.

“I was actually sent to die with a bomb,” she said, referring to her Ukrainian handlers.

But prosecutors rejected her version and she was sentenced to 27 years in prison.

The explosion killed Tatarsky in April last year and injured more than fifty people.

In her closing statement before a St. Petersburg court, Trepova – who does not deny ties to Ukrainian intelligence – said her conscience was clear.

The explosion killed Tatarsky in April last year and injured more than fifty people

The explosion killed Tatarsky in April last year and injured more than fifty people

The explosion killed Tatarsky in April last year and injured more than fifty people

“I am deeply pained and ashamed that my naivete and gullibility led to such catastrophic consequences,” she told the victims and their relatives in court.

“I’m so sorry for what you had to go through because of me.

‘What pain and what horror. I have already asked for forgiveness from the victims.

‘One of them said, ‘God will forgive.’ I felt a bit of mockery in it.’

She continued: ‘This hurt me because I consider myself a believer, and my condition was calm, because I am sure that at least my conscience before God is clear.’

Trepova insisted she did not intend to kill Tatarski and her supporters say she is being made a scapegoat to cover up the shortcomings of Russia’s secret services.

Her lawyer Daniil Berman said Trepova “did not know and could not have known what was in the bust.”

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