Although no organization has as yet taken responsibility for the horrific suicide bombing at a Kurdish wedding in Gaziantep, Turkey, on Saturday night, Turkish intelligence and even the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, have pinned the killing of at least 54 people on a young member of ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria). Nearly half of those killed, 22 people, were under the age of 14, which, according to preliminary reports, may have been the age of the suicide bomber — although the early claim that the suicide bomber may have been as young as 12 seems to now be questionable. What is not questionable, however, is that the number of suicide bombings and attempted suicide bombings by young and underage ISIS members is surging — and it might get a lot worse.
As the Associated Press reported August 22, the young ISIS suicide bomber that detonated a bomb at a Kurdish wedding just a few miles north of the Syrian border in Turkey Saturday was between the age of 12 and 14, according to Turkish government sources. He was what ISIS refers to as a “cub of the caliphate,” one of the extremist organization’s child soldiers, many of whom have been re-educated in ISIS-run schools.
Reuters reported that the Turkey wedding bombing was the deadliest terrorist attack in the country this year. A senior security official told the news agency that the device used by the child suicide bomber was similar in type to the one used in the July 2015 suicide attack in Suruc and in October 2015 in Ankara where pro-Kurdish activists were targeted.
Turkey’s Foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, had harsh words for ISIS at a news conference in Ankara, “Dash [Arabic derogatory name for ISIS] should be completely cleansed from our borders and we are ready to do what it takes for that.”
The Kurdish wedding bombing in Turkey not only killed 54 people, but an additional 66 people were injured as well, requiring medical attention and hospitalization.
Unfortunately, the suicide bombing in Turkey wasn’t ISIS’ first child soldier suicide bomber to be employed by the extremists. Nor was it the last.
According to Iraqi News, an anonymous source quoted a Peshmerga (military of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan) official, Omid Walati, last week in Erbil as saying, “ISIS militants are now using suicide bombers and car bombs as the last resort, after suffering heavy losses at the hand of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces.”
Walati went on to say that the desperate attacks are a sign of ISIS’ attempts at gaining more time with which to effect an escape from Mosul, which is now besieged by Peshmerga, Iraqi defense forces, and various militia groups.
Still, as harrowing as the developments are, there are incidents where a child soldier suicide bomber is not successful in detonating their explosive vest. The day following the Turkey wedding bombing, AhlulBayt News Agency reported Monday that a 13-year-old suicide bomber was stopped by Kurdish law enforcement in Kirkuk. The boy was arrested after officers defused the bomb.
The Islamic State has been recruiting and training child soldiers since the advent of the caliphate, which was declared in the summer of 2014 after ISIS militants made a territory grab in eastern Syria and northern Iraq. As Inquisitr reported in May, European intelligence agencies warned that the radicalization and indoctrination of child soldiers — the “weaponizing” of children — had become worrisome, making stopping terrorist acts that much more difficult.
Some parents have attempted to protect their children from ISIS teachings. An Inquisitr report noted that ISIS extremists executed seven parents in the besieged city of Mosul last week when they refused to send their children to ISIS-run schools. It is unclear if the children of the executed parents escaped ISIS and its schools.
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