Teen 'UK's youngest suicide bomber'
June 14, 2015 6:28 pm
A West Yorkshire teenager is believed to have become Britain’s youngest ever suicide bomber after reportedly blowing himself up in Iraq.
Talha Asmal, 17, was one of four suicide bombers who attacked forces near an oil refinery south of Baiji.
Social media reports linked to Islamic State (IS) said Asmal, going by the name of Abu Yusuf al-Britani, had taken part in the attack.
His family said they were “devastated” at the news.
Asmal, from Dewsbury, would be Britain’s youngest known suicide bomber.
Another West Yorkshire teenager, Hasib Hussein, was almost 19 when he blew himself up on a London bus in the 7 July 2005 attacks.
A statement issued by Asmal’s family said: "Talha was a loving, kind, caring and affable teenager.
“He never harboured any ill will against anybody nor did he ever exhibit any violent, extreme or radical views of any kind.
“Talha’s tender years and naivety were it seems however exploited by persons unknown who, hiding behind the anonymity of the world wide web, targeted and befriended Talha and engaged in a process of deliberate and calculated grooming of him.
“Whilst there it appears that Talha fell under the spell of individuals who continued to prey on his innocence and vulnerability to the point where if the press reports are accurate he was ordered to his death by so-called Isis handlers and leaders too cowardly to do their own dirty work.
“We are all naturally utterly devastated and heartbroken by the unspeakable tragedy that now appears to have befallen us.”
Shahid Malik, the former MP for Dewsbury and a family friend of the Asmals, said: "It is disturbing to see how relaxed he looks in the Isis photographs allegedly taken just prior to his suicide mission.
“He looks at peace. It’s like he’s ready to go and meet his maker. This is a clear indication of just how successful the evil Isis [also known as IS] groomers have been in poisoning and brainwashing Talha and kids like him.”
IS is a radical Islamist group that has seized large swathes of territory in eastern Syria and across northern and western Iraq.