6 teens trained as suicide bombers
BAGHDAD - The Iraqi military on Monday displayed a group of weeping teenagers who said they had been forced into training for suicide bombings by a Saudi militant in the last urban stronghold of al-Qaida in Iraq.
Four of the six boys were lined up for the media at police headquarters in the northern city of Mosul, where they said they had been training for a month to start suicide operations in early June.
The United Nations and the Iraqi and U.S. militaries say they fear that al-Qaida in Iraq is increasingly trying to use youths in attacks to avoid the heightened security measures that have dislodged the group from Baghdad and surrounding areas.
The youths, three wearing track suits and one with a torn white T-shirt, began crying as they were led into the police station.
"The Saudi insurgent threatened to rape our mothers and sisters, destroy our houses and kill our fathers if we did not cooperate with him," one of the youths, who were not identified, told reporters in Mosul, where security forces are cracking down on al-Qaida in Iraq and other Sunni insurgents.
Iraqi soldiers acting on tips found the youths, who ranged in age from 14 to 18, in the basement of an abandoned house on Monday after the Saudi militant who was training them was killed in military operations last week, deputy Interior Minister Kamal Ali Hussein said.