Video Shows al-Qaida Training Teens, U.S. Says

A still image from the video

A still image from a video recovered by the U.S. military in a December raid northwest of Baghdad. U.S. officials say it is a terrorist training video for teens and children. hide caption

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The U.S. military has released what it says is a terrorist training video for teenagers and children.

Officers say it was found during a December raid northwest of Baghdad. The video shows more than a dozen hooded boys carrying weapons and taking part in mock raids. One boy carries an assault rifle nearly as big as he is.

The boys can be seen carrying pistols, AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. A man leads them on a series of training exercises. There's a mock assault on a man riding a bicycle, and another on a car. The boys also burst into a house, holding guns against the heads of sleeping adults, chanting, "God is great" in Arabic. They also sing songs.

The video was found during a raid on a suspected al-Qaida in Iraq safe house. The house was located in Khan Bani Sad, just northwest of the capital. Officials believe the video was filmed in the area.

The U.S. military says two adults were killed in the raid and three others were captured. No children were found. But Rear Adm. Greg Smith, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, says they found a trove of videos and DVDs, some picturing children.

Smith says the videos are used to indoctrinate children to become part of the jihad movement.

In the past month, there has been a spate of suicide attacks involving young people. Two 15-year-old boys took part in two separate attacks, against a tribal leader and a school. And last week, two 16-year-old girls exploded themselves at a pet market in Baghdad, killing scores of people.

Iraqi officials say the girls were mentally retarded and known to local merchants.

Admiral Smith says the military is uncertain whether the young attackers are part of a growing trend.

Children in Iraq have been used for years by Sunni insurgents to plant or detonate roadside bombs and serve as lookouts.

Dozens of them have been sent to American military detention centers. Military officers say they have captured children as young as 8 taking part in attacks on Iraqi and American forces.

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