Militants strapped explosives to a young girl and used her to blow up an army checkpoint in Iraq yesterday.
They detonated the device by remote control as the child, thought to be as young as eight, walked towards a group of soldiers.
“The attack came on the day that Metro revealed that 100,000 girls are being used as soldiers around the world.”
The girl and an army captain were killed in the blast which also injured up to seven other soldiers.
The Iraqi authorities imposed a curfew after the attack as they joined American soldiers in trying to hunt down those who carried out the attack. It will be seen as a new low in the tactics used by insurgents, who in the past have strapped explosives to women with Down’s syndrome.
Yesterday’s blast happened at an army post in Youssifiyah, south of the capital Baghdad and in an area dubbed the Triangle of Death by the allies.
Lt Ahmed Ali, of the Iraqi army, said the explosives were detonated as the girl approached the soldiers. ‘The bomber was detonated by remote control, killing Capt Wassem al-Maamouri and injuring four soldiers,’ he added. The Americans called it a ‘suicide’ attack and put the number of injured at seven. Later, they gave the age of the girl as between 16 and 18.
The attack illustrates the lengths to which some militants are prepared to go, especially as Islam forbids women taking part in war. However, such religious sensitivities mean women are less likely to stopped and searched at checkpoints.
There have also been reports of bombings involving mental patients and people in wheelchairs. In February, two women with Down’s syndrome were used as human bombs in Baghdad. They walked among the crowds before the devices were detonated with mobile phones, killing 99 people.
Joe Stork, from Human Rights Watch, said militants used such bombers because security forces were cracking down on traditional tactics.
‘In the Palestinian conflict it was not something that happened at the outset – it was later on. You could infer as bombings became more and more difficult for the usual suspects to pull off they resorted to children.’
The attack came on the day that Metro revealed that 100,000 girls are being used as soldiers around the world.
Elsewhere in Iraq, a suicide bomber killed 20 mourners at a funeral attended by Sunni tribesmen opposed to al-Qaeda. In Baghdad, a car bomb detonated next to an MP’s convoy. He survived, but a civilian was killed and 20 others were wounded.