Place of Birth: Verviers, Belgium;
Tarik Jadaoun is a Belgian member of the Islamic State detained in Iraq, who was extensively involved in terrorist plotting against the West. He even volunteered to return for an attack himself.
He admitted his involvement in several terrorist plots – two of which have lead to deaths on European soil – and he even confessed that he had volunteered for an attack in Belgium or France himself.
According to the interrogation reports, Jadaoun was apprehended on the 12th of July 2017 at 6 AM in al-Farooq, a neighborhood in the west of Mosul liberated from Islamic State a fortnight earlier.
He was arrested without weapons, equipment or documents – suggesting that he had gone into hiding. But he hadn’t suffered hardship yet, since his weight of 135 pounds is healthy for a man of 68 inches tall.
Jadaoun declared that he had worked as a medic in a makeshift hospital in the Hayy al-Maydan neighborhood from early June until two days before his arrest. On the 10th of July, that hospital was hit by a coalition air strike, causing the death of his pregnant wife and their one year old daughter.
He had two spouses at that time – the one who died was a Belgian citizen of Algerian descent. The other is an Iraqi who had fled Mosul with her parents early last year, but was still in touch with Jadaoun via social media about ten days before his arrest.
He mentioned that it was lead by an Indian doctor known as Abu Hamza al-Hindi – while shortly afterwards an audio message by another Indian Islamic State member eulogized an Abu Hamza al-Hindi who reportedly had died while the hospital the managed was bombed.
Jadaoun badly wanted to become a terrorist himself. In 2015, he heard that Abdelhamid Abaaoud – the Belgian field commander of the Paris attacks – was searching perpetrators for attacks on European soil. While Jadaoun insists that he has never met Abaaoud, he did submit his candidacy to Abu Abd al-Hamid al-Shishani, whom he identified as the emir of the Abu Mutaz al-Qurashi division, the entity in control of all Islamic State foreign fighters. But his offer was refused.
Apparently, Jadaoun was meant to become a coordinator instead. “He is groomed to be the next Abaaoud”, a former Islamic State member told us in 2016. Jadaoun did not confirm that during his interrogations, but he told extensively about his use of social media to recruit attackers in the West.
He ran at least fifty different Facebook accounts and was active too on Telegram, where he was cautious enough to set the self-destruction tool for what he wrote at 30 seconds. At a certain point, he sent a detailed manual for the production of explosives to an IS supporter in Europe who told him that he had recruited a suicide bomber already.
He also admitted that he was in touch with the two perpetrators of the July 2016 Normandy church attack, the murderer of a French police man (likely the June 2016 Magnanville attack) and with two of the women behind the September 2016 Notre Dame Cathedral bombing attempt.
All these plots were previously attributed to the French ‘remote-controller’ Rachid Kassim, who also operated from Mosul – but Jadaoun didn’t mention Kassim and failed to confirm that these remote-controlled attacks have been a full-fledged part of the ‘external operations division’ within the Islamic State for which he closely worked together with Kassim.
Jadaoun proposed to cooperate with security services in order to avoid new attacks, because IS “still has people hidden in Europe”. The Belgian prime minister Charles Michel refused the offer immediately. “We don’t negotiate with terrorists”, he said.
The interrogation reports suggest that Jadaoun has little to offer. Explicitly asked in November of last year, he denied any knowledge about future attacks or people still busy with that. But it is possible of course that Jadaoun wanted to keep his most valuable knowledge as a leverage.
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