The Terrorist Campaign to Recruit Juveniles and Attack Children

On March 11, a suspected terrorist broke into the home of an Israeli family and committed an unspeakable act, butchering five members of the family, including an infant, while they slept.

Fox News Channel had the gruesome details:

Five members of an Israeli family were killed Friday night when a suspected terrorist broke into their home in the West Bank settlement of Itamar and stabbed them all to death. The 12-year-old daughter who returned home from a friend’s house discovered the bodies. According to police, the suspect broke into the house armed with a knife and stabbed the mother, father and three children, aged 11, 4 and a three-month-old baby. Two infants, aged 2 and 4, survived the attack while escaping to their neighbors.

One paramedic on the scene noted, “The murder scene was shocking. Kids’ toys right next to pools of blood.”

An official for Hamas, the Islamic terrorist group linked to the brutal attack, initially claimed that murdering Jewish settlers was permitted by international law before backtracking a day later, making the claim that “harming children is not part of Hamas’s policy.”

But according to documents we recently uncovered from the Defense Intelligence Agency, brutality against children is all part of a plan by Islamic terrorist groups to strike fear into their opponents. And not only are they targeting children with violence, but they’re also brainwashing other children to do their dirty work. (Overall, the records consist of two Joint Task Force Intelligence Information Reports from debriefs of detainees at the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.)

Through use of the Freedom of Information Act, Judicial Watch made the remarkable discovery, and then instantly made headlines on Fox News Channel. (You can watch reporter Catherine Herridge’s special report here, highlighting our work.) You can also read the documents for yourself. But here are a few of the highlights:


  • Extremist groups in Saudi Arabia and Yemen used religion as the main mechanism for recruiting juveniles. Extremist groups preferred juveniles who were poor or involved in illegal activities since they made easy targets for recruitment.
  • Extremist groups are not looking for a particular characteristic in a recruit, but prefer juveniles who are poor or are involved in drinking and drugs. The juveniles are looking for happiness and fulfillment in their lives, and they have not found it. For these reasons they are susceptible to being brainwashed by extremist groups.
  • No juvenile has resisted taking part in an operation. Most juveniles are eager to participate after hearing a religious speech given by one of the trainers at the camp.
  • The Terrorist and Extremist Groups (TEGS) justify their attacks on young children (ages 5 through 17) by claiming that the children are either non-believers or children of non-believers. The attacks on children are deliberate actions.
  • The attacks on children are psychological operations against non-believers to prevent them from organizing against the TEGS. The TEGS attack schools and buses to maximize psychological effect. Attacks against children in schools and buses are used because they are easy targets. The attacks are conducted to show non-believers how little the TEGS think of non-believers lives who are against Islam.
  • The TEGS consider attacks on children legitimate. The TEGS believe the attacks on children are a religious good deed and attackers will go to heaven. The TEGS encourage their members to launch attacks on children.
  • Juvenile females are recruited into the extremist groups, but not for operational purposes. The juvenile females become brides for extremist members.

The records note that “approximately 40% of Al Qaida members in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq are composed of juveniles under the age of 18.” Terrorists recruit juveniles at Koran study groups, soccer games, summer camps, trips to other cities and swimming pools. Some extremists with connections to law enforcement purposely target and coerce potential juvenile recruits while the youths are under arrest and detained in jail.

(In November 2001, Suleiman Abu Ghaith, Senior Advisor to bin Laden and al-Qaida spokesman, said, “We have not reached parity with [America]. We have the right to kill four million Americans, two million of them children and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands.” [Emphasis added])

These documents describe al-Qaida’s evil strategy: Target and recruit impressionable juveniles to carry out terrorist acts while purposely inflicting violence on children to strike fear in those who oppose them. We should be concerned that radical Islamists are using their religion to brainwash young people to commit terrorist acts and to justify the murder of innocent children.

And it should not have taken more than five years and two presidential administrations to force the release these documents. It is essential to tell the American people the truth about the strategies and tactics of Islamic extremists.

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