ISIS has turned to booby trapping toy trucks and dolls in a clear attempt to target children. A U.S.-led coalition is approaching the city of Mosul, one of last remaining ISIS strongholds in Northern Iraq. Kurdish and Iraqi forces approaching the city have reported encountering several homemade mines and explosive devices that were disguised in items that would only be of interest to children or local civilians.
Several mines have been placed around local schools and community centers with clothing, toys, and even teddy bears used as their trigger points. When a local child picks up the toy or clothing the device is triggered. Colonel Nawzad Kamil Hassan, an engineer with the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, states that ISIS is using these items to target local children, not opposing forces. He told reporters:
“Why would ISIS use something nice, like a bear or a rabbit? They used this toy because they know the Peshmerga will not touch it – but children will.”
Over 50 tons of explosive material have been cleared from the area in the last two years. Kurdish forces report that ISIS seems to be increasing the number of bombings against civilians and the approaching coalition as opposing forces close in on the city.
ISIS has been increasing their efforts to attack the U.S.-led coalition as well. Several decoy, easy-to-detect, mines have been planted around the city and surrounding villages. These devices are non-explosive and are used to lure bomb squads closer to more well hidden explosive devices.
The U.S. military believes there are currently 5,000 ISIS fighters within the city and an additional 1,000-2,000 in the villages and towns just outside the city’s borders.