From The Times, February 7, 2008, by Martin Fletcher in Baghdad:
The boys look about 11 or 12, some even younger. .... The three-minute film shows the children — perhaps 20 in all — being taught to kidnap and assassinate at what appears to be an al-Qaeda training and indoctrination camp in the Iraqi countryside....
......Guided by adult trainers, they storm a house and capture the people sleeping on a floor inside. They brandish their weapons for the cameraman, recite Koranic verses and chant their support for al-Qaeda.
The US military released the chilling footage in Baghdad ....seized during a raid on December 4 on a suspected al-Qaeda base in Khan Bani Saad, north of Baghdad. Rear-Admiral Gregory Smith, a military spokesman, described it as a propaganda tool that would have been used to recruit more children.
....Admiral Smith and Major-General Mohammed al-Askari, an Iraqi army spokesman, said they were releasing the videos to highlight al-Qaeda’s growing use of woman and children and deepening depravity.
They were clearly seeking to build on the widespread disgust inspired by the terrorist group’s use of two mentally disabled women last Friday to attack two crowded pet markets in Baghdad, killing about 100 people. The explosives attached to the women were detonated remotely and they may not even have known what they were doing. They were also teenagers, the military said yesterday.
Admiral Smith produced figures to show al-Qaeda’s increasing use of women as suicide bombers in Iraq. He said that five had carried out suicide attacks before 2007 and ten since, with four of those this year alone.
He had no figures for child suicide bombers but at least two 15-year-old boys blew themselves up last month......
....“Al-Qaeda in Iraq wants to poison the next generation of Iraqis,” [Admiral Smith] said. “It is offering children as the new generation of mujahedeen . . . It’s a morally broke ideology that Iraqis have rejected and are fighting against to reclaim their homeland.”
General al-Askari said the growing use of women and children was a sign of desperation by al-Qaeda..... Al-Qaeda has been taken aback in the past few months, however, as thousands of ordinary Sunnis have turned on the terrorists and driven them out of large areas of western Iraq and Baghdad.....