RT has managed to talk to two members of the Islamic State terrorist organization imprisoned in Baghdad in an exclusive attempt to gain a glimpse into their motivation. They claim to act out of faith and to have no regard for civilian casualties.
The two men led out to Eisa Ali for the interview in a police station’s courtyard were both outwardly calm. Clad in yellow prison robes and handcuffs, both are Baghdad native Sunni Muslims, who now face life imprisonment for their actions as part of ISIS.
As Eisa Ali asked his questions, the man who answered most of the time was Abu Usama. Recruited in 2012 while in prison for petty crime, the 27-year-old has since risen to the rank of terrorist cell leader.
The other man, 23-year-old Abu Baraa, used to be a school teacher. Now he says he is a transport driver: “I deliver things like explosives and ammunition for Abu Usama.”
Like many young jihadist recruits, they saw Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as a visionary and a savior: “We were told that Abu Bakr Baghdadi would establish a caliphate to take over the world, and he will be the caliph for all Muslims and the Law of God would prevail.”
A common tactic used by these sleeper cells is to send car bombs into primarily Shia neighborhoods. When asked how they justify the numerous civilian deaths from ISIS terror attacks, the two calmly answer that they do not.
“We were given orders and we just had to do what we were told, there is no justification,” Abu Baraa says. Abu Usama picks up: “The main objective is to bring down the government. We received orders to place bombs on roads and to target military convoys – and if there are civilians there, they were also to be killed.”
Abu Usama also admitted he harbored a special hatred for Americans following their decade-long occupation of Iraq: “The Americans have destroyed us and also other countries, and if I have an opportunity to fight them I will do so. I will not hesitate.”
Americans may be Islamic State’s main enemy in Iraq, but civilians remain the main victims. A total of 17,000 innocent bystanders have been killed by suicide blasts, car bombings and other terror attacks.
Islamic State terrorists are thought to harbor hundreds of sleeper cells like the one Abu Usama and Abu Baraa come from inside the Iraqi capital. While extremist militants wage open war, sometimes managing to seize whole cities from the military, these groups wreak havoc from within with terrorist attacks.
RT will have more insights into the workings of Iraq, a country broken by war and torn by jihadist terror – check out Eisa Ali’s project “Inside Iraq” on air and online, and his RT blog.