Shocking images emerged Monday of Iraqi cops tackling a panicked boy — removing his suicide belt before he could detonate it on behalf of ISIS, officials said.
The boy, said to be as young as 12, bursts into tears as authorities arrest him Sunday night in Kirkuk, a city claimed by both Iraq’s central government and the country’s Kurdish region.
The vest was later detonated in a controlled explosion, the Independent of the UK reported.
Police spokesman Col. Avrasiya Kamil Wais said the would-be bomber was thwarted an hour after another suicide bomber died when he attacked a Shiite mosque in the city, injuring three people.
Another suicide bomber blew himself up Sunday in Kirkuk but no other casualties were reported.
“There is a dangerous campaign tonight against Kirkuk,” a security official told Kurdish news agency Rudaw.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the boy, who was wearing a Barcelona soccer shirt, acted on his own, or was forced by the jihadist group.
The incident comes just 24 hours after a young boy attacked an outdoor Kurdish wedding in Turkey – killing 51 guests and wounding dozens of others.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who blamed the attack in Gaziep on ISIS, said the attacker was between the ages of 12 and 14.
At least 22 of the victims were younger than 14, a government official said.
Among the most deadly suicide attacks took place on March 25 at a youth soccer game south of Baghdad, where 29 were killed and 60 injured. ISIS claimed responsibility for the carnage.
The UN’s children’s agency, UNICEF, recently said that thousands of children have been abducted in Iraq, the Independent reported.
Girls are at greatest risk of being sold as sex slaves while boys are often forced into becoming suicide bombers.
The jihadist thugs have also recently launched a sick app to indoctrinate children – the so-called “cubs of the Caliphate” – by using cartoon images of weapons to teach them the Arabic alphabet, the Daily Mail reported.