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UK's youngest suicide bomber exploited by 'cowards'

The family of British 17-year-old Talha Asmal have expressed "grief" over reports that he has been killed while with Islamic State in Iraq.

Relatives say he was groomed and exploited by militants "too cowardly to do their own dirty work".

However, there are still questions over why he left his Dewsbury home for a life of extremism.

ITV News UK Editor Rohit Kachroo reports from West Yorkshire:

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Society 'must be vigilant' to spot radicalisation signs

British society must stay "vigilant" to spot signs of radicalisation in young people, Philip Hammond has said.

Talha Asmal, 17, reportedly became Britain's youngest suicide bomber when he blew himself up while fighting for Islamic State in Iraq.

Speaking about the teenager's death, the foreign secretary said: "Teachers, parents, social workers, people in the community all need to be vigilant and look for signs of early radicalisation."

Ex-extremist: No doubt teen suicide bomber groomed

A man once considered the "godfather" of the British jihadi movement has said there is no doubt a 17-year-old - who has apparently become Britain's youngest suicide bomber - was groomed.

Abu Muntasir, who used to recruit extremists, told Good Morning Britain that Talha Asmal had committed an "abhorrent crime" and said parents need to have more communication with their children to prevent similar tragedies.

"There is grooming, no doubt - I know how we used to convince people by ignoring a lot of facts on the ground, ignoring reality and alternative views amongst Muslims and Muslim teaching," he said.

"So the parents need to have more communication with their children, they need to have more of an overseeing aspect of how to be a good parent.

"It's totally despicable what he (Talha) has done, it is an abhorrent crime, and we should be very careful."

Cooper: Reports of British teen suicide bomber 'very disturbing'

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper has said the reports that a British teen has become the UK's youngest suicide bomber after being killed while with Islamic State in Iraq are "very disturbing".

She said: "This is a very disturbing case - and our thoughts are with the families and friends of those who died or were injured in this appalling terrorist attack.

"This case shows how important it is for the Government to have a proper counter-terrorism strategy, which not only includes measures to track, monitor and prosecute terror suspects, but also includes a much stronger plan for community-led action to prevent young people being drawn towards the lies and hate filled ideology of Isil."

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Family friend: Community grieves with family of Talha Asmal

Talha Asmal Credit: ITV News

Family friend Shahid Malik said a community was grieving today after news that 17-year-old Talha Asmal has been reportedly killed while with Islamic State in Iraq.

The local community grieves with them today, Ebrahim (the father) and the family's world has been shattered in the cruellest of ways and one which no family should ever have to experience.

Talha was a truly sweet-natured, helpful, respectful and friendly kid and it is incredibly difficult to reconcile this Talha with the suicide-bomber at an Iraqi oil installation.

– Shahid Malik, former MP for Dewsbury

Police unable to confirm British teen was suicide bomber

Police have said they are unable to confirm the identity of a British national, believed by family members to be 17-year-old Talha Asmal, who was reportedly killed while with Islamic State in Iraq.

West Yorkshire Police issued the following statement:

The police have been made aware of media reports with regard to the death of a British National in Iraq.

The identity of the person who has reportedly died has not been confirmed at this time and we are unable to comment further.

We are aware that large numbers of British nationals are travelling to the Middle East for a variety of reasons and we understand that some of those travelling have resided in West Yorkshire. We continue to support families who have loved ones that are believed to have travelled and the local communities who understandably may also have concerns.

– West Yorkshire Police

Talha Asmal thought be Britain's youngest suicide bomber

Talha Asmal thought be Britain's youngest suicide bomber. Credit: ITV News

At age 17 Talha Asmal is thought be Britain's youngest suicide bomber following reports of a young Briton killed in Iraq.

Family of British teen 'grief' over suicide bomber claims

The family of British teenager Talha Asmal, 17 have expressed "grief" over reports that a young Britain had been killed while with Islamic State in Iraq.

His family paid tribute to the teenager as a "loving, kind, caring" boy who they said was exploited by extremists "in a process of deliberate and calculated grooming of him".

British teenager Talha Asmal, 17 Credit: ITV News

Late yesterday evening some news outlets via their online platforms carried a story that a young Britain had been killed whilst with ISIS in Iraq.

Although the information within these reports has not been confirmed and the relevant UK authorities are working hard to verify the facts, we can confirm that the photographs shown of a youth purportedly named Abu Yusuf Al Britany appear to show our 17 year old son Talha.

Talha comes from a close knit, hardworking, peace loving and law abiding British Muslim family. The entire family unreservedly condemns and abhors all acts of violence wherever perpetrated.

Talha himself 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.

Talha’s tender years and naivety were it seems however exploited by persons unknown who hiding behind the anonymity of the world wide web targeted and befriended Talha and engaged in a process of deliberate and calculated grooming of him. As a result of this and completely unbeknown to us, his family and entirely against our wishes he ended up travelling it seems to Iraq.

We are all understandably grief stricken and do not propose to make any further press statements at this stage.

– Family statement
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