Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Islamic State Not the Only Group to Use Child Suicide Bombers

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Islamic State Not the Only Group to Use Child Suicide Bombers

Article excerpt

The suicide bomber that killed at least 54 people at a Kurdish wedding in the city of Gaziantep in southeastern Turkey Saturday was no older than 14, President Recep Tayyip Erdo[196 159 ]an said Sunday.

Mr. Erdo[196 159 ]an added the child is suspected to have ties to the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) militant group, an announcement that has drawn attention to the group's use of children for suicide bombings and other violence in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.

But, IS isn't the only militant group to exploit children for its own ends. This list includes Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Boko Haram.

Authorities continue to piece together information about Saturday's attack and the identity of the suicide bomber. Erdo[196 159 ]an said the bomber was 12 to 14-years-old. A security official told Reuters they are investigating the possibility militants could have armed a child with explosives without his or her knowledge, and detonated the device remotely. The official said it's also possible an intellectually disabled child was duped into carrying the device.

IS has employed similar tactics in Syria and Iraq. In one of the group's deadliest suicide bombings carried out by a child, a teenager is suspected of detonating explosives at a youth soccer game at a stadium south of Baghdad in March, killing 29, and wounding 60. IS claimed responsibility for the attack and released a photo of the attacker, in which he appears to be no more than 16 years old.

IS has built up an army of children it has dubbed its "cubs of caliphate." According to a UNICEF report released in June, thousands of children have been abducted in Iraq. UNICEF said girls are at risk of being sold into sex slavery, while boys are often forced into becoming combatants or suicide bombers.

To train children for its a child army, IS exposes them to violent acts, which includes showing them videos of beheadings. In a video that went viral this month, a girl in a niqab beheads a toy doll.

Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the predecessor of IS, was known to use teenagers to carry out suicide bombings to fight the American occupation in Iraq. …

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