The Islamic State released a grisly new video today showing child jihadists hunting down bound “apostates” in a live-fire training exercise.
The half-hour-long production, from ISIS headquarters in Raqqa, shows child jihadists — boys about 9 to 12 years old — crawling through brush carrying rifles and snipping through a barbed-wire fence toward a training compound with one-story buildings and dummies as targets.
Scenes in the video include the ISIS kids taking Quran classes, training with a variety of exercises, eating cafeteria-style lunches and watching ISIS films. A trainer wakes the kids from their dormitory-style bunks while it’s dark outside for more training.
In another part of the video, kids wielding rifles give individual pledges to fight for ISIS; one boy has a cast on his arm.
Kids are then sent on an exercise through an abandoned building with some dummy targets in the rooms and a handful of live targets: prisoners with their hands zip-tied behind their backs, trying to elude the child jihadists in the multi-story, debris-strewn building.
One is labeled as a PKK member. A couple of the men weep after they are cornered, but the kids appear unmoved as the ISIS camera crew films the merciless encounters. The boys wound the prisoners at first in a gruesome game of cat-and-mouse, then finish off the prisoners at point-blank range.
One prisoner cornered on the rooftop throws himself off the edge before being shot to death by a child. The child goes downstairs to the man’s body and shoots him several times in the head, anyway.
ISIS has often touted its “cubs” program to train young jihadists. In April, a video featuring all child jihadists showed the kids making threats in French translated into English.
“Beware, we have what we need to defend ourselves/Well-armed soldiers are ready to kill you… Beware, we are ready to fight back/Our swords are sharpened to slice necks,” a French-speaking boy sung in the nasheed.
“Beware, men are ready to blow themselves up/Ready to respond to the evil you have brought/Beware, your roads will soon be rigged with mines/By well-trained and determined brothers/Beware, your end is already planned/Our warriors are everywhere, ready to sacrifice themselves.”