Notorious Sydney jihadist Mohamed Elomar has boasted online about the conversion of a young Iraqi boy from the minority Yazidi sect to the brutal Islamic State ideology.
Underscoring the ruthless oppression of civilians and minorities, including women and children, by the Islamic State group, a Twitter account widely thought to belong to Elomar has posted a picture of the boy holding a handgun and with a dummy sitting on his chest.
He looks to be about three or four years old and his holding up a forefinger in the traditional Islamic State salute. "Meet Amjed was a Yehzidi but I think his (sic) starting to get the Idea that ISIS is a way of life. Dawlatil Islam Bakia," the Twitter message states. The last Arabic sentence translates as, "Islamic State is here to stay."
Elomar, a former boxer, is known to have been in Iraq and Syria in the past six months and has been photographed holding up severed heads of dead soldiers and also brandishing guns during apparent executions of captured soldiers.
He is wanted by Australian authorities for terrorism offences. His latest online boast follows a recent report by Amnesty International that cited testimony by four women and girls in northern Iraq that they had been held in the homes of two Australian foreign fighters with Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
The report, titled "Escape from Hell: Torture and Sexual Slavery in Islamic State Captivity in Iraq", details the widespread abuse by Islamic State fighters of civilians in Iraq. The group has "singled out the Yazidi minority, notably its women and children, for particularly brutal treatment", the report from last month states.
"Four women and girls said they had been held in the homes of two Australian fighters of Lebanese origin, one of whom was living with his Australian wife (also of Lebanese origin) and children," the report states. Elomar and his equally infamous friend Khaled Sharrouf have been in northern Iraq since the Islamic State swept through the region around the middle of last year.
Both have also been in the Syrian city of Raqaa, the Islamic State's defacto capital. It is where Sharrouf's young son was photographed holding up the severed head of a Syrian soldier, causing shock around the world.
The Amnesty report found that in August last year, Islamic State fighters kidnapped hundreds, possibly thousands of Yazidi men, women and children. Hundreds of the men were killed or forced to convert to Islam.
"Younger women and girls, some as young as 12, were separated from their parents and older relatives and sold, given as gifts or forced to marry IS fighters and supporters," it states. "Many have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, and have likewise been pressured into converting to Islam."
During early days of Islamic State's assault on northwest Iraq, Australian Defence Force planes dropped tonnes of urgent supplies to relieve Yazidis trapped on Mount Sinjar, where they had fled to escape the militants' onslaught.
by David Wroe