Islamic State fighters have taken to social media to praise the jihadist group’s “lion cub,” a 10-year-old child soldier said killed in an American airstrike along with his father.
The child, identified by a Twitter feed claiming to be affiliated with the Islamic State as Abu Ubaidah, was hailed as the jihadist group’s “youngest martyr” from the Arabian Peninsula, and was shown in pictures shared online holding guns and wearing combat fatigues and a suicide belt.
A video uploaded to YouTube by a user called the “Baghdadi cub” eulogized the boy, saying: “In life we have met, and in the afterlife, we have the hope — we ask God to see you in happiness, in a place where there is no boredom. In heaven.”
There was no immediate confirmation of the child’s identity or death. Reports surrounding Abu Ubaidah’s death started circulating on the Internet on September 26, according to Jordanian news site Al Bawaba.
According to a report in The Times of London, pictures of the boy and his father show the man, believed to be from Saudi Arabia or one of the Gulf States, wearing a suicide belt. Beneath one picture is a eulogy written by the boy for his father, which reads: “May Allah protect you, my precious father, You who have taught me the love of jihad and the people of jihad, You who have made your life cheap for the sake of your mawla [spiritual leader], May he protect you.”
— Almogaz (@Almogaz) October 9, 2014
In June, watchdog group Human Rights Watch said in a report that the Islamic State and other armed groups in Syria were recruiting kids as young as 15, training them with weapons and sending them into battle. It charged that children younger than 13 were reported to be receiving training from IS. They were assigned the same military duties as adults, and children and adults alike signed up for suicide-attack missions.
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