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Reports: Al-Qaeda Uses Children With Disabilities As Weapons
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 11, 2007

BAGHDAD, IRAQ--Children with intellectual disabilities are being used as al-Qaeda soldiers, decoys, spies, and suicide bombers against U.S. and coalition forces in the war in Iraq, according to a story by a United Nations news service.

The IRIN news service, operated by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, reported Tuesday of dozens of instances where al-Qaeda in Iraq militants have recruited and kidnapped such children. In some cases, the children were reportedly told that sacrificing themselves would benefit their people and guarantee them a place in paradise. In others, the children's families sold them to the insurgents to fight the Iraqi government and occupation forces.

The story detailed a March 21 incident in which al-Qaeda militants used two children in a suicide attack at a Baghdad market.

"They were put in the back of a car with another two adults in the front. The military let their car pass though the check point since it had children as passengers," said Khalid Sami, a spokesman for Iraq's Interior Ministry. "When they reached the market, they [the adults] left the car with the children inside and detonated a bomb in the vehicle, killing the children and another five Iraqis."

The story also quoted the spokesperson of a non-government organization that said at least a dozen children have died when bombs exploded near them, after the youngsters had been used to distract the attention of troops for insurgents to prepare the explosives.

These are not the first reports of people with disabilities being used as weapons in the war.

On election day in January 2005, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that a 19-year-old man with Down syndrome had been killed when insurgents apparently detonated explosives that they had strapped to his chest before they ordered him to walk toward a Baghdad polling place.

The paper noted that there had been unconfirmed reports of insurgents attempting to use other people with Down syndrome in their attacks, but that they had been caught and stopped.

"Mentally handicapped children used in attacks" (Integrated Regional Information Networks via Reuters )
"Insurgents Used Teen With Down Syndrome As Human Bomb On Election Day" February 2, 2005 (Inclusion Daily Express)
"Disabilities and the 'War on Terror'" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

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