By Ziva Dahl, Washington Times—
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s assertion that a 14-year-old Islamic State suicide bomber detonated explosives at a wedding in southern Turkey, killing 54 people including 31 children, is currently in question. What is not in question is that ISIS’ use of children as suicide bombers is surging. The day following the wedding bombing, a 13-year-old ISIS suicide bomber was captured in Kirkuk before he could kill.
As appalling as this reality is, we shouldn’t be surprised by this horrific abuse of children. In its second intifada, Palestinians used child suicide bombers to murder Israeli civilians. During 2000-03, 29 suicide bombings were carried out by Palestinian children under the age of 18, and more than 40 other children were involved in thwarted attacks.
Just like the Palestinians, ISIS uses children as tools of jihad. It maintains an army of child soldiers, called “cubs of the caliphate,” indoctrinating them with the group’s version of Islam and forcing them to participate in beheadings, crucifixions and other vile acts. ISIS has released footage showing youngsters practicing decapitation on teddy bears. These mock execution games prepare them to star in videos where children behead prisoners. ISIS is sending more children into battle as suicide bombers than ever before.
Although the Palestinians are not currently using the tactic of child suicide bombings, they vigorously pursue a campaign to capture the hearts and minds of Palestinian children. Poisonous incitement to hate and kill Jews and achieve “martyrdom” comes from all directions — Palestinian state-run television, radio and print media, summer camps, school textbooks and religious pronouncements. Music videos extol the virtues of killing Israelis.