Using children as weapons of terror

CCTV News

a child's shoe The shoe of a young victim and a piece of metal lay near the scene just hours after Saturday’s bomb attack in Gaziantep, southeastern Turkey, early Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016. (IHA via AP)

The suicide attacker who detonated his explosives amid an outdoor Kurdish wedding party in southeastern Turkey, killing at least 51 people, was an ISIL group child as young as 12 years old. The extremist group has a history of using children as weapons, sending them to their death strapped with explosives and putting them on front lines in Iraq and Syria.

Terror group promotes and exploits children for terror

Terror group promotes and exploits children for terror

ISIL has a long history of recruiting and using children. CCTV's Jim Spellman reports.

The group maintains an army of child soldiers, which it calls “cubs of the caliphate,” and seeks to re-educate children at ISIL-run schools, indoctrinating them with the group’s own radical version of Islam and exposing them to violent acts, including beheadings, as part of a concerted effort to build a new generation of militants. ISIL videos have shown boys killing ISIL opponents through beheadings and shootings.

But the practice is not restricted to the ISIL and has been used by other militant groups. Here’s a look at some:

ISIL

aftermath of a suicide bombing at a soccer game

In this March 26, 2016, file photo, people inspect the aftermath of a suicide bombing that killed 29 and wounded 60 at a soccer field in Iskandariya, 25 miles (about 40 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq. ISIL claimed responsibility and released a photo of the attacker where he appears to be no more than 16 years old. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim, File)

The group has deployed child suicide bombers to stage attacks in both Iraq and Syria. Among the most deadly attacks was a bombing at a youth soccer game at a stadium south of Baghdad on March 25, 2016. A bomber — believed be a teenager — detonated his explosives as officials were handing out trophies to players after the tournament, killing 29 and wounding 60. ISIL claimed responsibility and released a photo of the attacker in which he appears to be no more than 16 years old. Nearly half of those killed were also children, participating in the soccer game or cheering from the stands. The U.N.’s children’s agency, UNICEF, said in a recent report that thousands of children have been abducted in Iraq. Girls, the group says, are at greatest risk of being sold into sexual slavery while boys are often forced into becoming combatants or suicide bombers.

BOKO HARAM

People help those injured by a bomb

People help those injured by a bomb after a girl suicide bomber as young as 10 blew herself up at a busy market, at a hospital in Potiskum, northeastern Nigeria. (AP Photo/Adamu Adamu, File)

Human Rights groups and UNICEF report a dramatic increase in Boko Haram’s use of children as suicide bombers. In a report earlier this year, UNICEF said one in five suicide attacks claimed by the militant group across Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad are now carried out by children. In Nigeria, Human Rights Watch said that since Boko Haram began its attacks in 2009, it has recruited hundred, and possibly thousands, of youngsters and used dozens, mostly girls, as suicide bombers.

AL-QAIDA

In this photo released on April 25, 2015 by a militant website, young boys known as the "lion cubs" hold rifles during a parade after graduating from a religious school in Tal Afar, near Mosul, northern Iraq. (Militant website via AP, File)

In this photo released on April 25, 2015 by a militant website, young boys known as the “lion cubs” hold rifles during a parade after graduating from a religious school in Tal Afar, near Mosul, northern Iraq. (Militant website via AP, File)

The global terror network has a history of recruiting children and training them to be suicide bombers. The leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, used teenagers as suicide bombers to fight the American occupation in Iraq before he was killed in a U.S. airstrike in 2006. Al-Qaida in Iraq eventually developed into what today is the Islamic State group.

RADICAL PALESTINIAN GROUPS

a would-be suicide bomber

Palestinian youth Hussam Abdo, a would-be suicide bomber, stares at journalists as Israeli soldiers present him to the media, following his arrest at the Hawara checkpoint near the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Sappers later detonated the bomb under the jacket. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)

Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militant groups run summer camps that seek to indoctrinate Palestinian children with violent anti-Israel ideologies. These groups have not sent young children on suicide missions, though during the second Palestinian uprising in the early 2000s, several Palestinians as young as 16 carried out suicide bombings. In the current, months-long wave of violence, dozens of Palestinian teenagers have carried out or been accused of carrying out stabbing attacks on Israelis, with the youngest perpetrator just 11 years old. The attackers are believed to have acted individually and were not sent by organized groups.

YEMEN

In Yemen, home to one of the world’s most heavily armed civilian population, boys often learn how to handle weapons from an early age. In the country’s current conflict, irregular forces from both the pro-government and rebel sides have incorporated teenagers into their ranks.

Story compiled with information from The Associated Press