‘He was groomed’ Family defends Yorkshire teen who is UK’s Youngest suicide bomber

Talha Asmal, from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, was believed to be one of four suicide bombers who targeted security forces near an oil refinery in the town of Baiji.

The family of the 17-year-old said they were “utterly devastated and heartbroken” after he detonated a vehicle fitted with explosives in the north of the country. They claimed ISIS militants had preyed on his “innocence and vulnerability” and that “Talha was a loving, kind, caring and affable teenager. He never harboured any ill-will against anybody nor did he ever exhibit any violent, extreme or radical views of any kind.”

The family said he came “from a close-knit, hard-working, peace-loving and law-abiding British Muslim family” which unreservedly “condemns and abhors all acts of violence wherever perpetrated”. They said despite him never exhibiting any extreme or radical views, he had been exploited by extremists on the internet “in a process of deliberate and calculated grooming of him”.

Unbeknown to them and completely against their will, they said he travelled to Iraq via Turkey and fell under the spell of Isis handlers who are “too cowardly to do their own dirty work”.

Talha Asmal, 17, is thought to have detonated a car bomb in Iraq, similar to the one pictured
Talha Asmal, 17, is thought to have detonated a car bomb in Iraq, similar to the one pictured