ISIS is proficient at adopting creative ways to cause more deaths and casualties. A recent tactic used by ISIS is booby-trapping corpses in shallow graves, wiring them with explosives. This is certainly not a new tactic; it’s been used throughout modern history. The Viet Cong, for example, used to position live grenades under dead bodies. In 2015, ISIS was said to have booby-trapped 123 dead Yazidis in a shallow mass grave in Sinjar, many of them women. It’s likely these victims were killed because they were too old to be used as sex slaves or they refused to leave with the ISIS fighters. One report indicated ISIS used an infant as a training aid on how to rig the booby traps. A-Sumeriah News stated,

‘The organization booby trapped the baby north of Shirqat in the Saladin Province and then in front of tens of armed ISIS men detonated it from afar.’ The report adds that ‘the baby’s father was executed just weeks ago for participating in the killing of an ISIS member. The baby was then rigged and then detonated as part of a training exercise by ISIS to teach its fighters booby-trapping techniques.’

The photo below has emerged from the fight in Fallujah this week, and shows a dead infant (the description in Arabic says the child is under 40 days old) buried in only a few inches of rubble and wired with explosives. ISIS sees multiple advantages to setting up these types of booby traps:

  • They could cause more deaths and injuries
  • They make for a hasty weapon (most are not hidden very well, which could be due to time or the next advantage that is listed)
  • They can have a psychological impact on their enemies as well as the ISIS fighters
  • They can slow down the pursuit of Iraqi security forces (even if it only appears to be a bomb and there are no explosives, only wires, it can still be effective for this).

Mutilating dead bodies is forbidden in Islam, assuming the corpses belong to Muslims. However, ISIS does not see Shia as true Muslims, nor do they treat Jews or Christians as people of the book. The Yazidis are seen as heretics and even referred to as devil worshipers. If people are not members of ISIS, they are fair game for their corpses being mutilated and desecrated. As ISIS continues to flee their strongholds, more of these booby traps may continue to be found.

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Featured image courtesy of Reuters