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New ISIS Video Features UK Child Executing Prisoner

ISIS Video screenshot

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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The Islamic State’s most recent propaganda video features five children, one of whom is reportedly of British background, executing prisoners.

The video is believed to have been recorded in the de facto ISIS capital of Raqqa, a city in Syria, according to SITE intelligence group. It features five child executioners in total, all wielding pistols and wearing the desert camouflage common among ISIS fighters. Included with the British child are children of Egyptian, Kurdish, Tunisian and Uzbek background. The inclusion of children from many backgrounds is a common theme in ISIS propaganda, as the group likes to point out its international presence in an apparent attempt to gain legitimacy in the international Islamic community, or “umma.”

ISIS has encouraged the training of “Cubs of the Caliphate” since it began its rise in Iraq and Syria in 2014.

“To ISIS, children are not just valuable propaganda; they are full-fledged militants who can kill,” wrote Mia Bloom, a security studies professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, in a piece for Foreign Affairs last July.

Bloom explained that children as young as ten are put through rigorous military training and indoctrination. Propaganda videos depicting the training show the children learning how to take hostages, operate as snipers and engage in ambushes. One particularly visceral video released in July, 2015 depicted children executing 25 Syrian soldiers.

While the deplorable act of using child soldiers is hardly a new concept in the ISIS ranks, featuring a child from a Western country is unique. U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond admitted in January that around 1,500 British people have attempted to join ISIS and other terrorist organizations in Syria. Many of these individuals have brought their families with them on their quest for jihad. With ISIS entering its third year of existence, a new generation of jihadists raised in the caliphate is soon coming of age.

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