Thursday 19 April 2018

Kelly flew back to Ireland to give support to Jordanian Isil suspect

In a scene from the documentary 'Holy Wars' Kelly is seen leading an Islamist protest in London
In a scene from the documentary 'Holy Wars' Kelly is seen leading an Islamist protest in London

Maeve Sheehan and Shane Phelan

Fears persist that Terence 'Khalid' Kelly was a high-level recruiter for Islamic extremism - and a great many questions remain about how he was allowed to travel to and from Ireland to the Middle East and Africa over a number of years with apparent impunity.

The high-profile Irish Islamist was once arrested for threatening to kill US President Barack Obama during a trip to Dublin.

The jihadist group Isil said he blew himself up in a suicide attack outside Mosul. They said he was killed after he drove an armoured truck laden with explosives at an Iraqi militia group on Friday.

The jihadist group released a picture of the bearded Kelly, who was in his late 40s and was born in Dublin's south inner city, standing in front of a vehicle and clutching a Kalashnikov rifle. It referred to him by the nom de guerre Abu Osama Irelandi.

The Sunday Independent has learned that US intelligence supplied An Garda Siochana with the names of 300 Muslims here on its Isil suspect list. It is not known how many remain here and how many travelled to fight with Isil in the Middle East.

Kelly was here as recently as March of this year after disappearing in July 2015.

Questions are now being raised as to how Kelly, a known extremist who was being monitored by Garda Special Branch, was allowed to travel freely from Ireland to Iraq.

Last March, Kelly was in the Dublin Four Courts to support a suspected Isil sympathiser from Jordan who was fighting deportation. Kelly attended at least twice at the Chancery Place Courthouse. He sat beside the Jordanian at the hearings and accompanied him to the courthouse.

Kelly was also at the man's side when he consulted with his lawyers in the corridors of the courthouse. There was no apparent additional security in place for the hearings and it did not appear that Kelly was under overt surveillance.

The Jordanian was described by gardai as the "foremost Irish-based facilitator of Isil fighters" although he was never charged with a terrorist offence in this jurisdiction.

Gardai alleged that he helped with logistics so that foreign sympathisers could travel and fight for Isil in Iraq and Syria. The Jordanian man was deported in July. He cannot be named by order of the court.

He had been living in Ireland since 2000 and is the father of an Irish-born child. Another of his sons was arrested last year by Jordanian security services.

The court also heard a close associate was killed while fighting in the conflict in Syria. The Jordanian had claimed he faced torture if deported, but the High Court did not accept this.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald declined to comment on the deportation at the time.

However, she said she made "no apologies" for deporting individuals involved in extremism, even if the evidence against them would be deemed insufficient for a criminal prosecution.

She said there was a difference between intelligence and evidence.

Kelly converted to Islam in 2000 while serving time in a Saudi Arabian prison after he was caught selling alcohol in the country.

Over the 15 years since his release, he travelled extensively in the Middle East and Pakistan where he tried and failed to join the Taliban.

Moderate Muslim leaders in Ireland yesterday said they long had fears that figures such as Kelly have been recruiting and indoctrinating young Muslims.

Sunday Independent

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