The Islamic State released a video recently showing a jihadist training camp in Iraq for newly recruited children and young adults, preparing them to “dedicate themselves to the great mission.”
In the video, dozens of masked young people wearing military camouflage uniforms can be seen participating in military training, which include sniper drills, weapons proficiency, and instruction in Islamic law.
One instructor at the Tal Afar training camp can be seen leading a group of masked recruits in chanting: “Glory can come only through death for the sake of Allah.”
After pledging allegiance to the “Emir of Believers”— the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — the new fighters recite “We shall die so that our religion will live on,” back at their instructor.
The children in the video wield automatic weapons and RPGs and can be seen firing loaded AK-47 assault rifles in a simulated guerrilla warfare exercise.
The video was translated by MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, a US-based watchdog, and uploaded online June 8.
Towards the end of the seven-minute clip, the new fighters demonstrate the skills they learned by marching down a busy Tal Afar street carrying the group’s notorious black and white flag while displaying various military formations.
The parade also included a display of recruits’ physical strength as one instructor can be seen hitting each fighter in the stomach with a metal rod.
Last year, the UN released a report detailing the Islamic State’s exploitation of children for warfare and said that the jihadi group systematically used children as young as 13 in combat roles, as spies, guards, cooks, medics and even suicide bombers.