A teenager in Iraq killed himself and five of his family members after an explosive belt went off inside of their home in Mosul. The teenage boy was an Islamic State recruit, according to reports. He was inside his home that he shared with his two parents and three other children in the al-Wehda district when his explosive belt detonated earlier this month.
The boy was a member of the “Cubs of Caliphate,” a group within the Islamic State in Mosul, a local source, who requested to remain anonymous, told Alsumaria News. The boy and other members of the group had been given explosive belts under ISIS' strategy to intimidate and control local residents. The belts were intended to be used in planned suicide bombings.
Recruiting children and teens is a fundamental part of Islamic State strategy. Cubs of Caliphate, the group of adolescents who are considered to be next generation jihadists in Mosul, have been used in ISIS propaganda videos and have carried out suicide bombings and killings in cities under Islamic State instruction, according to Guardian. A United Nations report released in February 2015 said some of the young boys brainwashed into joining the Cubs of Caliphate group were as young as eight.
Back in August, Iraqi police captured a 15-year-old boy who was on his way from Mosul to a Shia mosque in Kirkuk wearing an explosive belt. Najmaldin Karim, governor of Kirkuk Governorate, told CNN at the time that the boy had been “trained and brainwashed” to carry out a suicide attack on the mosque. Karim said many of the cubs are lured by Islamic State militia under the pretense that “they will go to heaven and have a good time and get everything that they ever wanted” if they carried out suicide bombings.
The Islamic State gained control over Mosul back in June 2014, and deemed the city as the Islamic Caliphate. The Iraqi Army has been making strides to wipe out Islamic State militia in the area with the help of U.S.-led air force operations launched in October.