Images publicized by the Islamic State this weekend showed a wheelchair-bound man saying goodbye to his children and then carrying out a suicide car-bomb attack, purportedly targeting a government military compound in eastern Syria.
“The terrorist is seen talking to his son and daughter with a rifle on his lap,” reports the UK Daily Mail. “The man can then be seen being lifted from his wheelchair into a car, and making a hand gesture with his index finger which has become associated with Islamic State (ISIS) over the years. The car is claimed to have been laden with explosives, and the next photo reportedly shows the area where then man is alleged to have blown himself up in a suicide mission.”
The Daily Mail notes it is not clear when the footage was recorded, or exactly when the bombing attributed to the wheelchair jihadi might have taken place.
The Islamic State has been developing what the Daily Star called “wheelchair kamikaze jihadis” for several months now. Footage released two weeks ago by the terrorist organization showed a masked man in a wheelchair being loaded with explosives and placed in a car for a suicide mission in Mosul, Iraq.
In September, the Clarion Project posted an ISIS propaganda video that showed fighters who lost limbs in battle doing their part for jihad by preparing ammunition, working anti-aircraft guns, recording inspirational messages such as “May this Eid sacrifice festival be filled with the slaughter of many infidels,” and wiring car bombs.
“I lost my hand and my eye for Allah’s sake,” one of the maimed militants declared. “Praise the Lord, I still have a hand and an eye so I can serve the religion of Allah with them.
The video included aerial footage purportedly showing a disabled car bomber carrying out a suicide attack by driving into a building.
The Islamic State (ISIS) released propaganda images of a wheelchair-bound executioner assisting in the crucifixion of alleged “spies” in the Libyan city of Sirte in 2016, which ISIS largely controlled at the time. Newsweek pointed out it was not clear if the man in the wheelchair was actually disabled, since “ISIS regularly stages propaganda acts for shock value.”
The suicide bomber who attempted to bring down a passenger jet over Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu in February 2016 was believed to have used a wheelchair as a means of evading airport security and smuggling an explosive device onboard.
“Disabled passengers are a common sight on flights in war-torn Somalia, and are sometimes treated as being above suspicion,” the UK Telegraph noted at the time, a warning that might well apply to war-torn Syria. The Mogadishu bomber, who was claimed as a member of the al-Qaeda-affiliated group al-Shabaab, was the only person killed in that particular attack.