The Manchester terror attack that took the lives of 22 and injured more than 120 at an Ariana Grande concert shows a new target of ISIS bombing attacks – children and youth. Prior to the suicide bombing on Monday Islamic terrorist have avoided targeting children. The youngest victim at Manchester Arena, however was just 8 years old.
Fox News has reached out to several ISIS terror experts who unfortunately delivered the same message – children and youth have fallen in the focus of radical extremists.
“I don’t think anything is off the table anymore,” Fred Burton, former special agent and vice president of intelligence at geopolitical research firm Stratforttold Fox News. “We have reached a new low.”
Other terror experts say that ISIS and other radical Islamic groups have a frequently expressed rationale for targeting Western youth.
“Both ISIS and Al Qaeda propaganda have long and often referred to the suffering and depredations inflicted by the West on Muslim women and children in particular,” said Bruce Hoffman, director of the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown University. “So the attack on a venue and an event especially heavily attended by young children makes sense in that respect.”
Shortly after the Manchester attack ISIS not only claimed responsibility but took to social media to praise the assault. According to the Middle East Media Research Institute an article explaining the new target of terror was circulated on pro-ISIS channels, on the messaging app Telegram, under the hashtags #Manchester and #Britain.
The author, calling herself Umm Omar Al-Iraqiyyah, wrote that the attack was a reprisal for the killing of innocent Muslims and that it was justified under the Quranic principle of reciprocity.
“If you kill our women and children – we will kill your women and children,” reads a line from Al-Iraqiyyah’s posting.
“This issue is clear as the noonday sun,” the post also says. “A Muslim is allowed to inflict punishment equivalent to the harm that was done to him. Therefore it is permissible to kill the [enemy’s] children, women and elderly. This is justice. We kill their women, children and elderly as they killed our women, children and elderly, in order to break their hearts and humiliate them, in light of the verse, ‘So whoever has assaulted you, then assault him in the same way that he has assaulted you [Koran 2:194]’”