Isis brainwashed three-year-old boy to kill for terror group, says mother

'Once, he took a dagger and tried to stab me in the back,' says mum of boy manipulated by a Saudi emir

Sam Blewett
Sunday 11 September 2016 15:47 BST
Isis has previously released stream of propaganda videos featuring children (file pic)
Isis has previously released stream of propaganda videos featuring children (file pic)

A mother who was captured by Isis has told how her son was brainwashed to kill for the terror group from the age of three.

The woman, who has since escaped, recounted being sold along with her child to a senior Saudi figure within the organisation at a market in Syria

Children are suspected to have been used in attacks in Iraq and Turkey, where a teenager was initially suspected of being behind a suicide blast at a wedding party, killing at least 54.

And the woman, identified only as Maryam, described to the Sunday Times how the Saudi emir manipulated her son, Hassan,

“Every day the emir would take Hassan with him," she said.

“He would teach Hassan to hit me and other people. Once, he took a dagger and tried to stab me in the back. Whatever the emir did, he copied.

“He would shout at me to go away and make signs with his fingers like he was shooting me.”

Maryam and Hassan, now five, said she escaped in late 2014 when a militant’s wife took pity on the, but she said she still had two daughters and a 13-year-old son in the clutches of Isis.

She said the pair, from northern Iraq, spent four months living in a room packed with guns and suicide vests with the emir in Syria.

She told the newspaper: “Isis are always buying people and selling them at a higher price.

“But I just don’t have the money. Two of my daughters have been taken by Isis, too. I haven’t heard from them.

“I don’t know where they are. I think about my children all the time and I want them to come back, but I can’t do it.”

Children are suspected of being used in at least two suicide bomb attempts and Isis has issued propaganda footage showing them commiting atrocities.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the suicide bomber who killed at least 54 people at a wedding the city of Gaziantep on August 20 was aged between 12 and 14 and was acting on behalf of Isis.

However, Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim later backtracked and said officials were still trying to determine whether it was a “child or a grown-up” who detonated the explosive vest.

Iraqi security forces also wrestled a suicide vest from a boy as young as 12 when they believed he was going to carry out an attack in Kirkuk on August 21.

And Europol, Europe’s law enforcement agency, warned in July that the children of foreign fighters in Isis territory in Syria and Iraq were being trained to be the next wave of terrorists.

“Some returnees will perpetuate the terrorist threat to the EU via facilitation, fundraising, recruitment and radicalisation activities. They may also serve as role models for future would-be violent jihadists,” Europol wrote in its annual report on terrorism.

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