The Islamic State released a video on Tuesday that purports to show a child soldier executing a Palestinian teenager accused of being an Israeli spy.
In the first scene of the approximately 13 minute-long video clip, bearded Muhammad Said Ismail Musallam, a 19 year-old Palestinian from East Jerusalem, is composed as he sits against a white wall in a orange jumpsuit. Musallam then calmly delivers a lengthy confession in Arabic about how he was recruited by Israel's intelligence service, Mossad, after being encouraged to do so by his father and older brother, who he says told him that joining the Israeli spy service would give him career opportunities.
Musallam claims his "cover" was blown with the militant group after he raised suspicions by behaving in a way unusual for new recruits and slipped away from the group to make a phone call to his father. In the clip the Palestinian youth warns would-be spies not to try and come to the Islamic state. "You won't succeed at all," he says.
The video then cuts to Musallam being escorted across a field by the child executioner, where he is then forced to get on his knees and listen to his death sentence being read out in French by a bearded adult fighter who stands behind him.
The militant who delivers the ruling states that "Allah has repelled the plot" of an "evil apostate spy" before pledging to "liberate Jerusalem" from "filth." The man then puts his hand on the back of a young boy dressed in military fatigues and pushes him forward to carry out the execution. The boy, who appears to be no more than 12 years old, and is referred to as a "cub of caliphate," then steps forward with a pistol and appears to shoot Musallam four times at close range before pumping his arm in the air, gun in hand, and shouting "Allah Akbar." The apparently dead Palestinian teenager is shown sprawled on the ground with blood trickling from his head.
Musallam was reportedly taken hostage in Syria three months ago after crossing into the war-torn country via Turkey. The execution video uses dramatic videography stylistically typical of the militant group. The video was posted to Twitter accounts associated with the Islamic State but has not yet been officially verified.
In the videoed "confession" before his murder Musallam repeats some of the statements he made in an interview published by Dabiq, the Islamic State's English language magazine in February; namely that he was tasked by Israeli intelligence to gather information about the militant group's weapons' stockpiles, bases, the names of recruits, spies in Israel and anyone seeking to attack or infiltrate Jewish territory.
In the magazine piece Musallam claims he was recruited to join Mossad by a "Jewish neighbor" called "Eli" who worked as a police officer on West Bank checkpoints. In exchange for his work Musallam said he was promised a house and a minimum monthly salary of 5,000 shekels ($1235.00). He also claimed he was given one-month's training by the security service alongside eight others "Jews".
However his father told Israeli newspaper Haaretz that his son, a former volunteer with the Israeli firefighter service, went missing while on a tourist visa to Turkey and later sent an email explaining he had gone to Syria to join the Islamic State and carry out Jihad and "be a martyr".
Ahmad Musallam, brother of Muhammad, who had not yet seen the video, also denied that his sibling was a spy and told Israeli news agency Ynet that his brother was "tricked and used" by the Islamic State. "My brother was a little boy who did not care for religion or politics," he said.
The Islamic State also claimed in a clip of Musallam's execution video released on Tuesday afternoon that it was "looking toward Jerusalem" and had identified at least 13 more Israeli spies. The militant group also appeared to reference the murder of French Jews during a terror attack on a kosher supermarket in France earlier this year with the words: "Allah granted us the grace to murder Jews on their lands in France."
This is not the first time a child-soldier has been used by the Islamic State to carry out an execution. In January the militant group released a video of a child, who said he was from Kazakhstan, carrying out the execution of two men accused of being Russian spies.
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