Iraqi police apprehend child suicide bomber in Kirkuk
Iraqi security forces remove a suicide vest from a boy in Kirkuk, Iraq, August 21, 2016. REUTERS photo
Iraqi police have said they apprehended a boy would-be suicide bomber in the city of Kirkuk on Aug. 21 before he was able to detonate his explosive belt, one day after a child suicide bomber killed at least 54 people at a wedding in Turkey’s southeast.
Local television footage showed a group of police officers holding the young boy while two men were seen cutting off a belt of explosives. After they removed the belt, the boy was seen being rushed into a police truck and driven away.
Kirkuk Police Chief Brig. Gen. Khattab Omar Aref said the child was from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which was also the case for the attack in Turkey, indicating the jihadist group was increasing its use of children.
ISIL has routinely used children to perpetrate crimes. According to experts from a U.N. watchdog, ISIL has been using children, including those with mental health problems, as suicide bombers. Officials previously said they believed some of the youngsters may have little or no idea what they were being used for.
“We have had reports of children, especially children who are mentally challenged, who have been used as suicide bombers, most probably without them even understanding,” expert Renate Winter, a member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), told Reuters on Feb. 4, 2015.
According to another report endorsed by the U.N. and dated March 2015 by Quilliam, a London counter-extremism think tank, ISIL was “eager to enlist children to help safeguard its future.”
“Their aim is to prepare a new, stronger, second generation of mujahideen [jihadists], conditioned and taught to be a future resource for the group,” the report said.