In the last days of the fight for Mosul, Islamic State increasingly sent female suicide bombers hidden among fleeing civilians and used children as human shields, as they fought Iraqi forces.
According to the Telegraph, more than 20 female bombers carried out attacks over the past two weeks.
A soldier displayed the school ID card retrieved from the body of one of the bombers, showing her to be only 15.
Another told The Associated Press that when they heard cries from civilians just around the corner, he and his colleagues rushed their commanding officer to safety into a nearby home that already had been cleared. They yelled at the group of sobbing women and children to hurry past. “They cry and then — boom! They explode themselves,” he said.
Over the weekend a photo emerged of a woman holding an infant, moments before she detonated an explosives vest in an attempt to kill Iraqi security forces.
— ConstantNein ن (@loadshed) July 8, 2017
The footage was captured by Al-Mawsleya television. Only after the fact did the station realize it had captured the woman gripping the bomb’s detonator as she walked past the cameraman.
The woman apparently attempted to activate the bomb at that moment, but failed. It subsequently went off some seconds after she had passed the cameraman. The woman, the baby and two soldiers were killed. Several others were injured.
“The women are fighting with their children right beside them,” Lt. Gen. Sami al-Aridi said. “It’s making us hesitant to use airstrikes, to advance. If it weren’t for this we could be finished in just a few hours.”