Former Australian citizen ‘Jihadi Jake’ who apparently converted to radical Islam while still at school has reportedly killed himself in a suicide bomb attack, after driving a van load of explosives into a public place in Ramadi, Iraq.
The so-called “white Jihadi” was considered a major propaganda coup for the Islamic State when he travelled to Iraq by way of Turkey last year and was pictured wearing a bullet proof vest and posing with two jihadists and assault rifles. Although he went to fight, eighteen year-old Jake Bilardi had clearly outlived his useful purpose to the Islamic State as he ended up facing the same fate as many of his European-born colleagues, being used as a suicide bomber.
A number of reports coming from within the totalitarian theocratic state have said the Islamic State, while welcoming converts and run-aways from Europe have found them hard to turn into soldiers, as they don’t speak Arabic and are unaccustomed to hard work. They are put onto menial work, or as in this case turned into suicide bombers.
Among the reports of Bilardi’s death as a bomber, with photographs of him driving the explosive-packed van released by the Islamic State, focus has turned onto the writings made by the school drop-out teenager explaining his journey from ordinary life in Australia to self-immolation in the Levant. The Daily Mail reports the latest entry from his online journal, “From Melbourne to Ramadi: My Journey”. Bilardi wrote before his death:
“With my martyrdom operation drawing closer, I want to tell you my story, how I came from being an Atheist school student in affluent Melbourne to a soldier of the Khilafah preparing to sacrifice my life for Islam in Ramadi, Iraq.
“Many people in Australia probably think they know the story, but the truth is, this is something that has remained between myself and Allah (azza wa’jal) until now.
“My life in Melbourne’s working-class suburbs was, despite having its ups and downs just like everyone else, very comfortable. I found myself excelling in my studies, just as my siblings had, and had dreamed of becoming a political journalist. I always dreamed that one day I would travel to countries such as Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan to cover the situations in these lands…
“Being just five-years-old at the time of the attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001, my knowledge of the operation was basically non-existent…
“It was from my investigations into the invasions and occupations of both Iraq and Afghanistan that gave birth to my disdain for the United States and its allies, including Australia. It was also the start of my respect for the mujahideen that would only grow to develop into a love of Islam and ultimately bring me here to the Islamic State, but I’ll get to that later…
“I guess I was always destined to stand here as a soldier in the army of Shaykh Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (May Allah have mercy upon him) considering the great respect I had for him even before I entered Islam. May Allah accept him among the best of shuhadah and allow me to sit with him in the highest ranks of Jannah…
“Fearing possible attempts by the increasingly-intrusive authorities in Australia to prevent my departure [to the Middle East] I began drawing up a Plan B.
“This plan involved launching a string of bombings across Melbourne, targeting foreign consulates and political/military targets as well as grenade and knife attacks on shopping centres and cafes and culminating with myself detonating a belt of explosives amongst the kuffar.
“As I began collecting materials for the explosives and prepared to start making the devices I realised that the authorities were oblivious to my plans but if anything was to attract their attention it would be my purchasing of chemicals and other bomb-making materials and so I ceased the planning of Plan B and sat waiting until everything was prepared and I could exit the country undetected”.
Although it is not known how many people were killed or injured by his car bomb, his explosion appears to have been part of a coordinated ISIS attack against Ramadi on Wednesday, in which seven simultaneous explosions killed ten and injured thirty. An ISIS source has claimed the other bombers included Belgian, Syrian, and Georgian militants.