The terror attack on a Sikh temple by the Islamic State shows the group is trying to recruit more and more under-age sympathizers.
The Sikh temple terror attack in the German town of Essen has shocked Germany after revelations the violence was committed by two teenagers. The 16-year-olds behind the attack partially confessed to the bombing which wounded three people, including a 60-year-old Sikh priest who was seriously hurt.
The attack took place at 7pm following a wedding that attracted over 200 people at the temple run by the Sikh Gurdwara Nanaksar congregation.
This Friday police in Essen announced that another two teens had been placed in police custody, both 16-years-old. Police said that all four of the teens were known to them and that they maintained close ties with a local Salafist organization. All four are said to be sympathizers of the Islamic state and have known criminal backgrounds. The courts are currently looking into whether or not to prosecute the Salafist group as a terrorist organization as defined under the German constitution reports Tagesspiegel.
The authorities pointed out that the membership of the young Salafists is probably much larger than the four young men arrested. An expert said the amount of radicalisation among the young Muslims in Essen was frightening.
One of the young men was said to have posted a video of notorious jihadi Denis Cuspert, known by his rap name “Deso Dogg.” Cuspert is thought to have been behind several beheadings of ISIS prisoners and led recruitment for the group until his alleged death by a U.S. air strike last October in Syria.
Regardless of his death, Cuspert still maintains a huge influence on young German Muslims who look to him as an inspiration to wage jihad for the Islamic State.
The 15-year-old girl who stabbed a policeman in Hanover earlier this year was another minor who is said to have been inspired by ISIS propaganda. The girl is said to have tried to join ISIS in Syria but was stopped in Turkey by her mother.
The teen returned to Germany still radicalized and carried out the attack.
Federal and State authorities in Germany have noted the high number of minors attempting to join ISIS in Syria as alarming. In the month of September alone some 80 boys and girls aged 15-18 attempted or succeeded in travelling to Syria. Most of the young jihadists hadn’t even graduated from high school.
Another shocking figure is the amount of underage “martyrs” ISIS claim have sacrificed their lives for jihad. According to a study from the US Military academy West Point, 89 children had either died in combat operations or as suicide bombers for ISIS.
Most of the “martyrdoms” occurred in northern Iraq where ISIS has faced increasingly heavy resistance from the Iraqi army, but also in Syria, Libya and Yemen. Of the 89 killed, 6 are known to have been under the age of 14.
After watching one particular ISIS video in which children are taught to behead using teddy bears a Dutch intelligence official warned, “These are the terrorists of tomorrow.”