Reports say Britain’s youngest bomber with the ISIL Takfiri terrorist group has blown himself up in the Iraqi town of Baiji.
British media said Sunday that Talha Asmal, 17, who fled his Dewsbury home in West Yorkshire in March, joined ISIL after boarding a flight to Turkey with his friend Hassan Munshi, also 17, whose fate remains unknown.
This came after ISIL released pictures of a young male named as Abu Yusuf al-Britani who allegedly detonated explosives fitted to a vehicle in the Iraqi town of Baiji.
Four bombers in vehicles packed with explosives hit security forces and the local headquarters of Iraqi volunteer forces in the area of al-Hijjaj, 10 km to the south of Baiji town, near its oil refinery, the Independent said citing sources at the nearby Tikrit security operations command.
The person pictured in the photo released by ISIL is believed to be 17-year-old Talha Asmal. Asmal’s family released a statement to the state-run BBC, saying, “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 (ISIL) handlers and leaders too cowardly to do their own dirty work,” the statement added.
“We are all naturally utterly devastated and heartbroken by the unspeakable tragedy that now appears to have befallen us,” it went on to say.
More than 600 Britons are thought to have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join the Takfiri terrorists. The UK’s previous youngest bomber was Hasib Hussain, also from West Yorkshire, who was 18 when he took part in the 7/7 attacks in 2005, which killed 52 people and injured more than 770.
West Yorkshire police said they are aware of the reports, but have not publicly confirmed whether Britani is the missing British teenager. ISIL named Britani as one of four bombers, all of whom were photographed standing beside SUVs. The other three are alleged to be a German, a Palestinian and Kuwaiti.