Tarik Jadaoun from Verviers, the jihadist linked to the terrorist group Islamic State (IS), is in prison in Iraq where he risks the death penalty. In mid-December, he asserted in an interview with VRT that he wished to collaborate with Belgian security services, and had not actually fought for Daesh (the Arab acronym for IS). Yet, a completely different reality has emerged from hearings with the American security services, which Het Laatste Nieuws has both managed to obtain and has published on Friday. During these the jihadist admits his involvement in several attacks, and that he was prepared to carry out attacks on Belgium.
In an interview granted to VRT last month, Tarik Jadaoun, also known as “Abou Hamza Al-Belgiki”, aged 29, refutes being a terrorist leader. He portrays himself instead as an IS follower, who merely chose the wrong side. In his own words, the Vervier inhabitant is now somewhat eaten away by remorse for his actions, and prepared to collaborate with the Belgian security services. This is so if, at the very least, they will enable him to avoid the death penalty.
However, the jihadist showed another side of his activities to the Americans than was understood in Iraq. Het Laatste Nieuws writes that he acknowledged his direct involvement in several attacks – including at least two involving deaths in Europe – and that he voluntarily took part in this bloodshed. Documents obtained by the Flemish daily newspaper also appear to show that Tarik Jadaoun had not mentioned further aspects in terms of his knowledge of terrorist activities. Thus, in November, he swore being unaware whether new attacks were planned, whilst in December he then confirmed that terrorists linked to IS were still hiding out in Europe.