Iraqi police disarm 11-year-old would-be suicide bomber in Kirkuk
Video shows officers cutting belt of explosives off boy
Police apprehended an 11-year-old boy wearing a belt of explosives that was cut off by two officers in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk before it could be detonated, police said Monday.
Local television footage aired on Kurdistan 24 TV shows a group of officers holding the young boy while the two men cut the belt off. The boy was later interrogated by police.
Brig. Khatab Omar, Kirkuk's police chief, said the boy, who had entered the city days ago, was carrying two kilograms of TNT (trinitrotoluene).
The boy was apprehended on Sunday night, less than an hour after a suicide bomb attack on a Shia mosque in the city, Col. Avrasiya Kamil Wais, Kirkuk police department spokesman, told The Associated Press. In the mosque attack, only the bomber died and two people were wounded.
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"The boy claimed during interrogation that he had been kidnapped by masked men who put the explosives on him and sent him to the area," said Brig. Chato Fadhil Humadi, a Kirkuk intelligence official.
The boy, Humadi added, was displaced from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-held city of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, by recent military operations in the area. The boy's name is known to police. The AP does not identify minors who may be victims of abuse or suspected in violent crimes.
ISIS's media arm, the Aamaq news agency, on Monday claimed responsibility for the mosque bombing, but made no statement about the boy.
The capture of the boy followed a deadly attack at a wedding party early on Sunday in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, which the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said was carried out by a child between ages 12 and 14.
Erdogan said ISIS was the likely perpetrator of the attack.
Oil-rich Kirkuk has seen a rise in ethnic tensions following the Islamic State group's blitz across northern and western Iraq in 2014, and now Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen all have competing claims to the area.
Kirkuk is in northern Iraq and is claimed by both Iraq's central government and the country's Kurdish region.
Iraqi security forces largely withdrew from Kirkuk and Kurdish forces known as the peshmerga took control of the city. Since then, Shia militia fighters have also massed around the city.
The Kurds have also long wanted to incorporate the city into their semi-autonomous region, but Iraq's central government opposes this.
With files from Reuters