Irbil: A juvenile would be suicide bomber was apprehended in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk before he was able to detonate his explosive belt, Iraqi police said today.
Local television footage aired on Kurdistan 24 TV shows a group of police officers holding the young boy while two men are seen cutting off a belt of explosives. After they remove the belt, the boy is seen being rushed into a police truck and driven away.
Also today, a British contractor working for an American demining firm was killed while defusing an explosive device in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi.
The firm, Janus Global Operations, announced the death today without providing further details. The British Embassy in Baghdad and the Anbar Provincial Council also confirmed the incident.
The demining firm began operations in Ramadi in April, after Iraqi forces liberated the city from the Islamic State group, which left behind thousands of explosive devices.
Dozens of Iraqi civilians have been killed by explosions while trying to return to their homes in the city, much of which was destroyed in the fighting.
The would-be boy bomber in Kirkuk was apprehended on last night, less than an hour after a suicide bomb attack on a Shiite mosque in the city, Kirkuk police department spokesman Col. Avrasiya Kamil Wais told The Associated Press. In the mosque attack, only the bomber died and two people were wounded.
“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 Kirkuk intelligence official Brig. Chato Fadhil Humadi.
The boy, Humadi added, was displaced from the Islamic State-held city of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, by recent military operations in the area. He arrived in Kirkuk a week ago, Humadi said.
The boy’s name is known to the police, but the AP does not identify minors who may be victims of abuse or suspected in violent crimes.
Islamic State group’s media arm, the Aamaq news agency, today claimed responsibility for the mosque bombing, but made no statement about the boy.
Kirkuk, an oil rich city in Iraq’s north is claimed by both Iraq’s central government and the country’s Kurdish region.
Kirkuk has seen a rise in ethnic tensions following the Islamic State group’s blitz across northern and western Iraq in 2014.