A new execution video, said to be released by Islamic State militants, that depicts a young boy fatally shooting a hostage appears to be heavily edited and produced, suggesting that it may not have been the child who actually shot the man.
Fox News reports the recently released video shows the execution of 19-year-old Muhammad Said Ismail Musallam. The video suggests that a boy, who appears to be about 10 years old, delivers the fatal shot to the prisoner’s head before shooting him again as he lies on the ground dying.
But the Daily Mail points out that the video never actually shows the child firing the weapon at the man.
In the film, the child is seen leading Musallam into an open field. But at the moment of execution the camera angle is from behind the shooter, concealing the gunman’s identity and showing only his hand which, screenshots from the video suggest, could be the hand of an adult. The edited video then shows the child again as he shouts “Allahu Akbar” and fires a shot into the air.
In the 13-minute video, ISIS militants claim Musallam, an Israeli-Arab, was a spy for Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad. Musallam himself calmly confesses to being a spy in the video.
Musallam’s father, Said Musallam, denies the claim. He said his son went to Syria independently to join the Islamic State and fight alongside the militants but then had second thoughts. He said his son contacted him recently from Raqqa, Syria.
"He told me, 'Look dad, I am fed up here, it is a country of war, and I want to come back,’” Said Musallam is quoted as saying in The Independent.
"They did not want to let him leave because if he comes back, he might be caught by the Israelis and tell them what he had seen,” he added. “So they wanted to get rid of him. I know my son. I raised him well. I am sure he's not working for the Mossad.”
The execution video is the second such video, said to be released by the militant group, depicting a child executioner. The first, released in January, showed a young boy executing two Russian men who were also accused of spying, according to Fox News.
Veryan Khan, the editorial director of the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, told Fox it is no accident that the Islamic State is using children as propaganda tools.
“The use of a child executioner is significant because ISIS is demonstrating the ‘growing’ Caliphate and that they are raising their next generation of warriors now,” Khan said.