July 23, 2008— -- Children training as terrorists – and apparently honoring one of their own who died – are featured on a video released by the radical terror group the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU). The IJU is an Uzbekistan-based militant group that has now established operations in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area.
The 27-minute recording, dated June 13th, was produced by the media arm of the IJU and shows activities at an IJU training camp inside northwestern Pakistan. The evidently pre-teen children in the video are wearing fatigues and knit watchcaps and are armed with handguns and Kalashnikov rifles. The video shows them kneeling in a tent, standing at attention and running through tundra. One of the youths is repeatedly circled in red on the video, a sign that he is now dead, according to Ben Venzke of IntelCenter, which monitors the activities of terrorist groups. Venzke brought the video to the attention of ABC News.
The boy is identified as "Abduraheem, the Kazakhstani," and, according to the video, he was involved in "very bloody battles in Waziristan between soldiers of Allah and the friends of Satan." The video states that the boy was wounded in battle and because the bleeding couldn't be stopped in the field, "our young mujahadeen became a martyr." The body of the boy is later shown in the video wrapped in a white shroud.
The IJU became widely known last September after members of the group were arrested in Germany under suspicion of plotting attacks against a U.S. military air base and U.S. and Uzbek consular offices in Germany. Since then the group has mounted a public relations campaign, issuing statements tying themselves to operations by al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan.
"IJU's increased profile in the last six months to a year has been very significant," according to Venzke.
Earlier this year, the IJU released a video featuring a German-born member, Cuneyt Ciftci, who was blamed for the suicide bomb attack that killed two U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.