News Middle East

Saturday 1 October 2016

Just who is the boy in the latest Islamic State video?

Jamie McKinnell

Published 04/01/2016 | 09:58

British sounding child appears in the terror video
British sounding child appears in the terror video
Screen grab taken from undated footage issued by Islamic State militants showing the execution of five men accused of being spies for the UK
Screen grab taken from undated footage issued by Islamic State militants showing the execution of five men accused of being spies for the UK
Screen grab taken from undated footage issued by Islamic State militants showing the execution of five men accused of being spies for the UK
Screen grab taken from YouTube from undated footage issued by Islamic State militants showing a masked jihadi with a British accent mocking David Cameron in a purported new Islamic State video showing the execution of five men accused of being spies for the UK

Mystery surrounds the identity of the young boy who has appeared in the latest Islamic State (IS) propaganda material, but it is not the first time children have been used in the group's graphic videos.

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The boy, who appears to be aged four or five, makes a fleeting appearance in a desert landscape at the end of the 10-minute video.

Wearing camouflage clothing and black headband, he speaks in what sounds like a British accent and says: "We are going to go kill the kaffir (non-believers) over there."

The majority of the footage, which has yet to be independently verified, features a masked man who attacks Prime Minister David Cameron, labelling him "an imbecile" for launching air strikes in Syria, before killing a prisoner. Four other men then kill one prisoner each.

An English-speaking Islamic State (IS) fighter, who threatened Britain in a video
An English-speaking Islamic State (IS) fighter, who threatened Britain in a video

He speaks in a British accent and appears to mimic the style of the British man known as Jihadi John - real name Mohammed Emwazi - who was killed in a US drone strike in Syria in November.

Young children have appeared in many IS propaganda videos, including material which shows groups of children being trained with guns. In one infamous image, a child was pictured holding a severed head, while another photograph that circulated online showed a young child being encouraged to kick a severed head.

Screen grab taken from undated footage issued by Islamic State militants showing the execution of five men accused of being spies for the UK
Screen grab taken from undated footage issued by Islamic State militants showing the execution of five men accused of being spies for the UK

More than 30 UK children had been made the subject of family court orders over radicalisation fears, Scotland Yard said in August. At that time, judges had considered cases involving 12 different families.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the country's most senior terrorism officer, said in some instances the children were "almost babes in arms", with ages ranging from two or three up to 16 or 17.

Screen grab taken from undated footage issued by Islamic State militants showing the execution of five men accused of being spies for the UK
Screen grab taken from undated footage issued by Islamic State militants showing the execution of five men accused of being spies for the UK

There have been a series of high-profile cases involving families taking their children to Syria, or making unsuccessful attempts to make the journey, in the past year.

In October, police released images of a family of seven from Bradford thought to have begun a journey to Syria or Iraq.

Imran Ameen, 39, his wife, Farzana Ameen, 40, and their five children - Isma Imran 15; Moeen Imran, 14; Mohammed Muneeb Imran, 11; Ismail Imran, eight; and Mohammed Imran, five - were last seen on October 5 after buying one-way tickets. Mr Ameen's brother Rehan Noor-Ul-Ameen, 30, was thought to have travelled to Turkey months earlier.

Arshid Siddique, first cousin of both Imran and Farzana Ameen, denounced the family's decision and said it "beggared belief" that any parent would want to take their children to a war zone.

In July, a family of 12 from Luton was reported missing after failing to return from a holiday in Bangladesh. The grandparents of the group, which included 75-year-old Muhammed Abdul Mannan, were being held against their will, their son Shalim Hussain claimed.

Mr Mannan and his wife Minera Khatun, 53, went missing with their daughter Rajia Khanom, 21, and sons Mohammed Zayd Hussain, 25, Mohammed Toufique Hussain, 19, Mohammed Abil Kashem Saker, 31, and Mohammed Saleh Hussain, 26.

Three unnamed children aged between one and 11 were with the group, as were Mohammed Abil Kashem Saker's wife Sheida Khanam, 27, and Mohammed Saleh Hussain's wife Roshanara Begum, 24.

Just a month earlier British sisters Khadija Dawood, 30, Sugra Dawood, 34, and Zohra Dawood, 33, and their nine children, aged between three and 15, were feared to have travelled to link up with IS militants.

The sisters split into two groups to cross into Syria from Turkey, according to an IS smuggler.

Police also thwarted the attempts of many who were alleged to have been trying to get to the war-torn region.

In September, 33-year-old Zahera Tariq was arrested at Luton Airport on suspicion of child abduction. Her children, aged between four and 12, were taken into police protection.

Another British-born mother of two tried to take her children to the capital of so-called Islamic State territory to live under sharia law, a court heard in December. The 34-year-old lied to her husband, telling him she was taking the children to a birthday party before making her way to Heathrow, allegedly bound for Raqqa in Syria.

Four British jihadis were the subject of international sanctions in November, which banned travel and froze their assets globally.

In October, it was disclosed the number of terrorism suspects being arrested in the UK had reached record levels, with women increasingly under suspicion and at risk of radicalisation.

Press Association

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