Khalid Kelly: What we know about the London Irish suicide bomber who blew himself up for ISIS

Khalid Kelly: What we know about the London Irish suicide bomber who blew himself up for ISIS

OVER the weekend, news broke about an Irishman who blew himself up in Mosul, Iraq as part of the ongoing Battle of Mosul.

Khalid Kelly, also known as Abu Osama Al-Irlandi or Taliban Terry, lived for many years in London and is the first Irishman believed to have committed a suicide bombing for the terrorist group. His death is yet to be officially confirmed.

Here are five things you need to know about this Irishman...

Who was he? 

Terence Kelly was born in the Liberties, Dublin in 1967.

Aged 23, he moved to London and trained as an intensive care nurse. Six years later he was working at the King Faisal hospital in Saudi Arabia.

Kelly said he made money on the side by making alcohol, which is illegal in Saudi Arabia. He was caught in 2000 and sent to prison.

When was he radicalised?

Kelly was introduced to Islam in prison, and was released a convert.

In an interview with Religion News Blog in 2004, Kelly explained that his “conversion was very quick.”

“I saw that God was the creator, the provider, the commander, and the legislator for mankind. It was all suddenly very clear. I felt freer than I had ever been – even though I was in prison," he said.

Speaking in 2006 to Asharq Al-awsat, an Arabic newspaper in London, Kelly derided “British young men” for “drinking and going out.”

What were his links to Britain?

In 2002, Kelly was deported to Britain from Saudi Arabia and attended sermons by the radical preacher Omar Bakri Muhammad – who was linked to the July 7, 2005 suicide bombers in London.

Kelly then worked for a time as a nurse at St Thomas's Hospital in Central London, but left after being interviewed by management over his views.

He then joined Al-Muhajiroun, a British Islamist organisation, and became a "poster boy" for them in Ireland.

In 2003, he appeared on Pat Kenny’s the Late Late Show alongside infamous British extremist Anjem Choudary to explain his extremist views.

Was he arrested?

In May 2011 Kelly was arrested for threatening to assassinate Barack Obama during an upcoming visit to Ireland, according to the Associated Press.

In an interview with the Sunday Mirror, he said that al-Qaeda was hoping to assassinate the US president and that he would do it himself if he could.

Following the interview, counter-terrorism officers from Ireland’s Special Detective Unit arrested him and questioned him for three days.

Kelly was released without charges.

In 2015, he was again detained and questioned by garda before again being released without charge.

How did he become an ISIS suicide bomber?

Kelly had long voiced support for the self-proclaimed “Islamic Sate of Iraq and the Levant”.

After many years living in London he moved back to Ireland sometime prior to 2015.

In June of that year he was detained again and questioned this time by the Garda Counter-Terrorism International Unit.

It is not currently known when Kelly made his way to Iraq. According to a propaganda website affiliated to ISIS, he blew himself up on Saturday in an attack against Iraqi forces.

A statement reads: "The martyrdom-seeking brother Abu Usama al-Irelandi – may Allah accept him – set off with and detonated his explosives-laden vehicle on another gathering of apostates, in Aghazil al-Kabir village, south of Tal Afar, killing and wounding dozens of them, and destroying several of their vehicles."

It is thought that Kelly's vehicle-borne explosive detonated early, as he was reportedly the sole casualty of the attack – despite the aforementioned claims.