ISIS says British suicide bomber killed Iraq police general
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) jihadist group said on Sunday that a British national carried out a suicide bombing that killed a senior Iraqi police officer.
ISIS said in a statement posted online that “Abu Sumayyah al-Britani” detonated a truck carrying eight tonnes of explosives on the outskirts of the northern town of Baiji, killing Major General Faisal al-Zamili.
It identified two more bombers involved in attacks in the area as “Abu Abdullah al-Turkistani” and “Abu Abdullah al-Turki,” indicating that they were from Turkmenistan and Turkey, respectively.
A podcast called “The ISIS Show” interviewed a British jihadi identified as Abu Sumayyah al-Britani earlier this year, but it was unclear if he was the same person who carried out Friday’s suicide bombing.
“For us to be here, it’s freedom. Totally freedom. I can walk around with a Kalashnikov if I want to, with a (rocket-propelled grenade) if I want to,” Britani said on the podcast.
“It’s actually quite fun,” he said of fighting in Syria, where IS also holds significant territory, comparing it to a popular video game.
“It’s better than… what’s that game called, ‘Call of Duty’? You can see everything happening in front of you – it’s real,” he said.
Thousands of foreign fighters have joined jihadist groups including ISIS, sparking fears in western countries that the militants may seek to return home and carry out attacks.
But Britani said he did not want to return to the United Kingdom.
Iraqi officials gave a different account of the Baiji attack than that in the ISIS statement.
They said it was an explosives-rigged tanker truck that killed Zamili and three other police, and that there were three other suicide bombers instead of two, who failed to find targets.
A senior officer said Friday that government forces now hold “more than 70 percent” of the town, which has been under ISIS control for months.
Baiji lies on the main highway to Iraq’s ISIS-controlled second city Mosul, and its recapture would also help to further isolate militants in the city of Tikrit to the south.
The Baiji assault could also open the way to breaking a months-old jihadist siege of government forces defending Iraq’s largest oil refinery, which is near the town.