Wire: Forces Nab Children Recruited by al-Qaeda in Iraq
Off the Wire:
WASHINGTON, April 19, 2009 -- Newswires reported Iraqi security forces have arrested four children who were recruited by Al-Qaeda to carry out suicide attacks in and around the northern city of Kirkuk, an army general told sources on Sunday.
French news agency AFP reported the following details:
"Special forces units have arrested an organisation of children consisting of four individuals under the age of 14 who call themselves the 'Birds of Paradise'," General Abdelamir al-Zaidi said.AFP noted that the name of the group likely comes from the traditional Islamic belief that when children die they become birds in paradise.
"The group relies on children and is connected to Al-Qaeda. It works to recruit children and young people to carry out suicide attacks and to aid the terrorist groups in detonating roadside bombs," he said.
The children were arrested west of Kirkuk, the main oil hub in northern Iraq that is the subject of a long-standing dispute between Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdish region and has seen several recent attacks.
Zaidi said security forces are still investigating the group and have arrested other suspects, but he declined to give further details because of the secrecy of the operation, AFP reported.
Coalition and Iraqi forces launched a major operation in and around Kirkuk last week after a car bomb exploded next to a bus carrying police through the city, killing ten policemen and wounding more than 20.
Militants shelled Baghdad's protected Green Zone on Saturday in the first such bombardment in more than three months.
Attacks across Iraq remain sharply down compared with past years, but bloodshed has edged up in recent weeks. Citing recent suicide bombings and a rising lawlessness claiming scores of lives, AP has reported that there are signs of violence returning to Iraq.
(Report from commercial news sources.)
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