Kurdish police disarmed a 12-year-old would-be suicide bomber Sunday night, after he tried to blow himself up outside a police checkpoint.
The boy was part of a wave of Islamic State attacks on the city of Kirkuk. Kurdish officials apprehended him in a Barcelona Lionel Messi jersey, and said he burst into tears when initially questioned by a security officer.
The video shows Kurdish police carefully holding the boys arms apart as they carefully remove the explosive belt full of shrapnel from underneath his shirt.
Hours before the boy’s arrest, an ISIS suicide bomber blew himself up outside a Shiite Mosque, wounding three. At the same time, one of the boy’s accomplices blew himself up near a checkpoint, but did not hurt any one else. “There is a dangerous campaign tonight against Kirkuk,” a Kurdish security official told Rudaw news after the arrest.
The boy told Kurdish intelligence officials he was kidnapped by ISIS fighters in Mosul, and that the terrorists had forcibly strapped the bomb to him. Intelligence officials indicated the boy’s story may not have been a ploy to avoid punishment by security forces.
The boy’s arrest came just 24 hours after another ISIS child soldier between the ages of 12 and 14 blew up a bomb at a Kurdish wedding party in Turkey Saturday, killing 50 people and wounding nearly 70. Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan indicated the boy may have been wearing a remotely-controlled suicide belt.
The suicide bombing wave in Kirkuk is likely an attempt to weaken Kurdish resolve as preparations continue for an assault on the city of Mosul. ISIS seized Mosul in 2014, and it is the last major city inside Iraq that it fully controls. The U.S. plan to encircle Mosul, relies heavily on Kurdish Peshmerga forces, who have proven to be the most militarily capable force inside Iraq.
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