Al-Qaeda ‘used 24 child suicide bombers in last two years (Iraq)

Al-Qaeda has over the past two years used 24 children to carry out suicide bombings in Iraq, the director of military operations for the Interior Ministry, Abdelaziz Mohammed Jasim, told pan-Arab daily al-Sharq al-Awsat.

“Of the 24 children, five had a mental disability. From analysing the others’ remains, we established that they were homeless,” said Jasim.

American soldiers stationed in Iraq have reported that the insurgency has armed children as young as 11 to fight against them.

Al-Qaeda is targeting orphans, street children and mentally disabled children as suicide bomber recruits as well as women, according to the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

There have been at least 16 suicide attacks carried out by women in recent months in the volatile Al-Qaeda stronghold of Diyala province, north of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Iraqi children  in general make up 20 percent of the civilian victims of bomb attacks in the country.

Double Iraq suicide blast kills 30 in wedding attack

May 1, 2008

A double suicide attack struck a wedding convoy north-east of Baghdad today killing at least 30 and injuring 65.

Police said the attacks occurred in the busy market town of Balad Ruz in the restive Diyala province. There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the attack bore hallmarks associated with al Qaeda in Iraq.

A second bomber was said to have struck as crowds rushed to evacuate the wounded from the first attack, a common tactic used to maximise casualties.

The bombers detonated their explosive vests within minutes of each other according to Major General Abdel Karim al-Rubaie, head of the provincial military command.

“The first bomber blew himself up amid a crowd of people. Minutes later another bomber blew himself up as people were trying to rescue the victims of the first attack,” Mr Rubaie said.

He said the attack took place at around 7pm (1600 GMT) in a street known to sell wedding dresses and gifts.

Suicide bombings are a tactic mainly employed in Iraq by Sunni Arab militant groups such as al Qaeda.

Iraq has seen a jump in violence over the past month, mainly involving clashes pitting Shi’ite militias against US and government troops in Baghdad and the south. But al-Qaeda has also struck with a number of large suicide bombings in the north.

Iraqi government figures show April was the deadliest month for civilians since August last year.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/iraq/article3857590.ece