A video recently surfaced that shows Iraqi soldiers executing a small child at close range in Tikrit in Anbar province, where the army launched an offensive against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL). The Shiite soldiers accused the 9-year-old boy of fighting with the terrorist group.
No expert has been able to verify the video, though The Daily Mail nonetheless claims “the sheer brutality of the clip calls into question the policy of allowing local armed groups to lead the fightback against ISIS.” Mustafa Saadoun, the director of the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights, condemned the video.
“The child took part in operations against the Iraqi army and against civilians, but this does not justify his execution in this way,” he stated. “All international and Iraqi laws do not give the right to anyone to kill a minor person. He should have been arrested and put on trial in a legal manner and be treated with rehabilitation not torture.”
YouTube has since removed the video, but The Daily Mail described it:
The video begins by showing a group of heavily armed men surrounding a young boy, who is forced to his knees and questioned about being an ISIS supporter.
‘Did you not fire at us?’ one man towering over the boy shouts, to which the helpless child replies ‘By God I did not fire one single bullet.’
The armed men plead to be allowed to execute the young boy, who begs for them to spare his life.
One soldier wearing camouflage trousers bravely steps forward and demands nobody shoot, asking ‘What is wrong with you guys?’, which leads to an argument among the men.
The militiaman is ordered not to stand in the way of the terrified child, who crawls on his knees in a vain attempt to escape while pleading his innocence and warning the men that ‘God is watching’.
Seconds later a fighter to the left of the camera fires his automatic weapon several times, with the bullets striking the child in the head and killing him instantly. The camera then closes in on the dead child’s face and shows brain.
The Iranian-backed Shiite militias often post pictures of dead child soldiers on their social media sites. The militias and the US-backed Iraqi soldiers launched the offensive against the Islamic State on Monday in Tikrit, the hometown of former dictator Saddam Hussein and the largest Sunni town. United States officials claim Iraq officials “did not ask the US to provide air support” for the attack. The Iraqi government considers Tikrit “vital” to defeat the Islamic State in the country.
The province witnessed secular violence over the years, but now the Shiites “seek revenge for ISIS attacks on Shiites and decades of persecution under Hussein’s brutal Baathist regime.” It is normal for the Shiites to accuse Sunni Iraqis of being members of Islamic State, which justifies kidnappings and executions.
“Shiite militias have been taking advantage of the atmosphere of lawlessness and impunity to abduct and kill Sunni men, seemingly in reprisal or revenge for IS [ISIS] attacks and at times also to extort money from the families of those they have abducted,” reported Amnesty International.