A masked child has ‘re-enacted’ James Foley’s murder in disturbing images which show the youngster beheading a doll in an orange jumpsuit.
The photos were posted online by a supporter of the Islamic State terror group and came with the chilling message: ‘Teach your children to cut necks, tomorrow there will be a lot of rotten heads’.
Along with the photographs, which also show the doll after it has been beheaded, the Time for the Caliphate account circulated graphic images of the U.S. journalist’s murder to its 3,500 followers.
It comes amid growing concerns over disaffected or vulnerable children being radicalised through social media as major networks including Twitter and Youtube vow to halt the spread of extremist propaganda.
Chilling: Barefoot and wearing a black balaclava, a young child appears to re-enact the brutal murder of the U.S. journalist James Foley by beheading a doll in an orange jumpsuit. The images were circulated on Twitter
Propaganda: A second image shows the doll decapitated and smeared with what appears to be fake blood
The sick child ‘execution’ images mirrored the murder of James Foley, with the unknown child holding a knife and dressed all in black including a balaclava.
In the main image, the child holds the blond doll by its hair while standing in front of the black flag which has become the symbol of the terror group. In the second, the doll is decapitated on the floor.
The photographs add to concerns that children are being radicalised with the help of the persuasive power of social media.
Earlier this month Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott voiced condemnation after images circulated of a young boy – allegedly the son of an Australian ex-terror convict – apparently holding a severed Syrian man’s head.
British jihadists have been using teenagers’ everyday communication tools, including smartphone apps and the question-and-answer website ask.fm, to persuade impressionable children as young as 15 to join them.
Former student Reyaad Khan, 20, from Cardiff, made headlines when he appeared in a recruitment video for the Islamic State.
His case particularly concerned observers as he was remembered by most school friends as a talented scholar who until recently held moderate views and mixed with people from all backgrounds. He once said he wanted to be Britain’s first Asian Prime Minister.
Threats: The message next to one of the images read: ‘Teach your children to cut necks, tomorrow there will be a lot of rotten heads’. It comes amid fears over young people being radicalised through social media
Propaganda: Islamic State militants have swept through Iraq and Syria and spread fear through social media
The photographs were posted on Friday after Twitter and Youtube vowed to launch a renewed crackdown on jihadi propaganda accounts.
Several accounts circulating gruesome imagery were taken down almost as soon as they were launched, with jihadis switching to other less well-known social networks.
Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo wrote on Wednesday: ‘We have been and are actively suspending accounts as we discover them related to this graphic imagery. Thank you.’
Some accounts, however, continued to gain followers and spread messages of hate.
The Time for the Caliphate account was founded almost three years ago and showed no signs of halting its messages.
It also received several messages of support in Arabic from other Islamic State supporters, thanking militants for ‘defeating these traitors and tyrants’ and putting ‘terror into the hearts of the infidels’.
Respected: U.S. journalist Foley was abducted in Syria in 2012 and fell into the hands of the terrorist group
Posting a photo of second U.S. journalist Steven Joel Sotloff – who appeared to be threatened in the slick execution video – the account used the hashtag #StevensHeadinObamasHands.
On another still from the James Foley murder video, the account insisted that he was ‘armed to the teeth and trying to corrupt the media’.
That was despite a second image being posted of the aftermath of the murder, with the stark message: ‘We will cut off your head, O soldiers of Satan like this.’
A Twitter spokesman told MailOnline: ‘We do not comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons.’
Islamic State militants have swept through large regions of Iraq and Syria pledging to establish a ‘Caliphate’ which would enact a harsh interpretation of Sharia law.
Extremists have hunted down religious minorities, from Christians to Shia Muslims and the little-known Yazidi group, and taken entire towns killing thousands of people.