Iraq: Islamic State Using Video Game Controller Bombs Against Yazidis

TOPSHOT - A member of the Iraqi forces walks past a mural bearing the logo of the Islamic

Bomb detection units in Iraq uncovered a plot by the Islamic State to detonate bombs against Yazidi people hidden in video game controllers, a film highlighted by the UK Telegraph on Monday found.

Telegraph, citing a newly released documentary, reported that should one of the controllers have been picked up and played with, four bombs would have detonated and destroyed most of its surroundings.

The booby trap is one of a number of bombs disguised as household items unveiled through the film. The documentary, Into the Fire, follows Hana Khider, a Yazidi woman and team leader from the Mines Advisory Group charity that helps detect hidden explosives.

“The controller was in a house in Sinjar district and was attached to four large explosive charges placed around the building, enough to completely destroy the house,” Mines Advisor Group spokesman Jonathan Caswell told the newspaper. “Pressure on the controller buttons or joysticks would set them off simultaneously.”

The Yazidi people were victims of what is increasingly recognized as genocide at the height of the caliphate’s power from 2014 to 2016 when jihadists slaughtered thousands of people and systematically raped and abducted Yazidi women and girls.

While the Islamic State no longer exists as a geographic pseudo-state, jihadists cunningly planted what experts believe to be millions of hidden explosive devices throughout communities as a way of spreading fear after the Islamic State moved on. As well as planting devices in video game controllers, other common targets include children’s toys such as teddy bears and playing cards.

The film, commissioned by the Nobel Prize, was released last week on the National Geographic YouTube channel. It is directed by the filmmaker Orlando von Einsiedel, who won an Oscar for his film 2016 The White Helmets about volunteer rescue workers of the Syrian Civil Defence.

“I’m often drawn to stories of hope in the face of extreme adversity, to stories about ordinary people who show extraordinary courage, dignity and resolve,” von Einsiedel said on the film’s release. “Even after unimaginable tragedy, people don’t give up. They rebuild. In the difficult and dark times we are all living through, I’m finding it helpful to be reminded how resilient humans can be.”

The documentary’s release coincides with last week’s announcement by U.N. investigators that they had “significant progress” in helping the Iraqi government collect evidence for a future trial of Islamic State militants over the atrocities. In a report submitted to the U.N. Security Council, investigators said they had gathered more than two million phone records and extensive video and photographic evidence that could be used by Iraqi authorities for prosecution.

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