ISIS plants bombs in toys to kill unsuspecting children returning to Mosul

Homes destroyed by Islamic State militants, are seen on the outskirts of Bartila, east of Mosul, during an operation to attack Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, October 19, 2016. | REUTERS/Azad Lashkari

The Islamic State has come up with cunning ways to victimize Iraqis returning to Mosul by hiding bombs in colorful toys like teddy bears and rabbits that would explode when picked up by children.

"Why would ISIS use something nice, like a bear or a rabbit? They used this toy because they know the peshmerga [Kurdish fighters] will not touch it, but children will," said Col. Nawzad Kamil Hassan, an engineer with the Kurdish forces.

The engineer added that his unit has already cleared more than 50 tons of explosives in areas liberated from ISIS, The Guardian reports.

The militant group has turned seemingly innocuous items such as playing cards and abandoned watches into detonators. Many Iraqis are now afraid to return to their homes because the militant group has laced civilian and military areas with explosives.

In Sinjar city, Hassan's men were able to clear five tons of explosives from one school.

"Every day there is a new device. Some of our men have disposed of things that others have not even seen before," Hassan said.

Hassan is now using the most unusual explosive devices to use as training aids for his new recruits.

Two men were killed and 15 have been injured because they have little protective equipment. The training school aims to limit casualties by training recruits to recognize and defuse bombs.

Some of the bombs were designed for active combat that must be detonated by a fighter nearby. Others were created to lie in wait for victims. Hassan fears that his collection of bombs will keep growing until ISIS runs out of space and resources.

"They are not even animals. They are worse than animals," he said.

It was reported that ISIS has kidnapped tens of thousands of people, including women and children, to use as human shields. Those who refused were killed while the abducted men, women and children were forced to walk barefoot with the militants on their way to Mosul.

"ISIL's depraved, cowardly strategy is to try to use the presence of civilian hostages to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military action, essentially using tens of thousands of men, women and children as human shields," said U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights spokeswoman, Ravina Shamdasani.