RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
And both Iraq and terrorism are top issues in this election. A new video offers proof that there's reason for concern. The U.S. military has released a video it says shows that teenagers and children are being trained to be terrorists. Officers found the video during a December raid northwest of Baghdad. It shows more than a dozen hooded boys carrying weapons and taking part in mock raids, as NPR's Tom Bowman reports.
TOM BOWMAN: The boys can be seen carrying pistols, AK-47 assault riffles, rocket propelled grenades. They are led by a man on a series of training exercises. There's a mock assault on a man riding a bicycle, another on a car. The boys also burst into a house, holding guns against the heads of sleeping adults. They chant, God is great and sing songs. One boy carries an assault riffle nearly as big as he is.
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BOWMAN: The video is found during a raid on a suspected al-Qaida in Iraq safe house. The house was located in Conbanniesad(ph), just north and west of the capital. Officials believe the video was filmed in the area. The U.S. military says two adults were killed the raid, three others were captured. No children were found.
But Rear Admiral 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 were 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 women were mentally retarded and known to local merchants. Admiral Smith says the attacks are disturbing, but the military's uncertain if 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, serve as lookouts. Dozens of them have been sent to American military detention centers. Military officers say they have captured children as young as eight taking part in attacks on Iraqi and American forces. Tom Bowman, NPR News, the Pentagon.
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