Islamic State Now Turns Children into Killers
IS' latest execution video
NEW DELHI: The Islamic State’s latest execution video features a young boy shooting dead an Israeli Arab prisoner. The victim, identified as Muhammad Said Ismail Musallam, was accused by the militant group of being a spy for Israel’s Mossad -- a charge denied by both Israel and Musallam’s family.
The video, about 13 minutes long, begins with a shot of Musallam sitting in a room wearing an orange jumpsuit -- a uniform that has become synonymous with the Islamic State’s video execution victims. Musallam then begins talking about how he was recruited and trained by the Israeli intelligence service, adding that his father and brother had encouraged him to join.
Musallam is escorted onto a field by a young boy and read out a verdict, in French. The boy, wearing an Islamic State uniform, then faces Musallam and appears to shoot him in the head.
"Islamic State is doing this because it has an objective: it wants to scare the entire world," the BBC quoted the man’s father, Said Musallam saying. "How does it want to send that picture to the world - to the entire world and the Arab world? The way is through Muhammad."
Said Musallam claimed that his son went missing after travelling as a tourist to Turkey in 2014. The next the family heard of him was in the form of a long interview published in an online magazine linked to IS, that claimed Musallam was an Israeli spy. Whether true or not, the interview itself was indication that Musallam had fallen foul of the group, and hence, this execution was a matter of time.
The Islamic State is known to release videos of executions, usually featuring high-profile prisoners such as captured Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh who was burnt alive, American aid worker Peter Kassig, US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning -- all of whom were purportedly beheaded on camera.
However, usually a masked militant -- dubbed “Jihadi John” and recently identified as Briton Mohammed Emwazi -- carries out the execution. The use of children in video executions has been rare, but Musallam’s execution is not the first time a child has carried out the act.
In January this year, the Islamic State released a video where two men -- described as Russian spies -- confess to attempting to assassinate the group’s leaders and infiltrate its networks. A young boy then comes into view and calmly shoots the men in the back of the head with a handgun.
Further, the militant group has been known to use children in other ways. In November, disturbing images appeared online depicting children holding decapitated heads and AK-47s under the title “cubs of the Islamic State,” according to media reports.
It also follows other disturbing images and videos, including “school of Jihad” graduates lined up before a stage, listening to a speaker, whilst a row of adults believed to be their parents look on.
Previously, the UN Human Rights Council found that Isis “has established training camps to recruit children into armed roles under the guise of education”.
“At the camps, the children recruited received weapons training and religious education,” the report reads. “The existence of such camps seems to indicate that ISIS systematically provides weapons training for children. Subsequently, they were deployed in active combat during military operations, including suicide-bombing missions.”
According to an UNHRC report, this recruitment and military use of children under the age of 15 constitutes a “war crime.”
Other rights organisations have also condemned the IS’ recruitment of children. Amnesty International accused the group of “robbing an untold number of young people of their childhood.”