Ex-Taliban British bomb expert joins ISIS
Hamayun Tariq, 37, a West Midlands car mechanic turned jihadist, told The Guardian he had volunteered to fight for the militant group.
He said he hitchhiked from Pakistan’s tribal belt during the summer to the 'caliphate.' ISIS has seized large swathes of Syria and Iraq and established a self-proclaimed caliphate where Sharia law rules.
Tariq is a divorced father of two who grew up in Dudley, and who has served three and a half years in prison, according to The Guardian.
Tariq’s family told the paper his father, who died in January, was devastated by the path his son had taken.
He reportedly left the UK in July 2012 to fight for Islamists in Waziristan, Pakistan, where he said his fellow jihadis were killed in US drone strikes.
Tariq also said his passport was cancelled last year by the Home Secretary. When RT approached the Home Office to confirm Tariq’s case, or knowledge of his whereabouts, a spokeswoman said the department “cannot comment on individual cases.”
Revoking someone’s citizenship is a highly unusual step. Earlier this year, the government discussed a proposal to cancel the passports of Brits who joined terror organisations abroad, but it was ruled out because making someone stateless contravenes international law.
“Under new powers in the Immigration Act [introduced in July], a naturalised citizen who has conducted themselves in a manner seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the UK can be deprived of their citizenship – even if they are not at that point a citizen of another country,” the Home Office spokeswoman told RT.
“This can only take place where the Home Secretary has reasonable grounds to believe that under the laws of a country or territory, an individual is able to become a national of that country or territory.
“The decisions are made personally by the Secretary of State, reflecting how seriously the matter is taken, and individuals deprived of their citizenship have a full right of appeal.”
Tariq also told the Guardian about his new life with ISIS.
“Life was tough in Waziristan but here I can’t believe I get a salary, I get rent. They even paid for my transport. I’m really happy here and all the guys I’ve met from the UK are also happy and settled,” he said.
Before his Twitter account was deleted, Tariq, aka Muslim Al-Britani (his jihadist fighter name), tweeted pictures of bomb-making instructions, detailed notes on aiming Russian-made mortars and the components of deadly explosives.
In one tweet, he thanked UK Home Secretary Theresa May for taking his citizenship away. Beneath the tweet, a rising smoke cloud from a bomb explosion can be seen with the caption: "Mujahedeen Book of Explosives and Weapons 2nd Edition. By Muslim.”
It appears Tariq was the book’s author. The former mechanic also distributed notes on electronic components which could be used to assemble bombs to fellow jihadis. He posted step-by-step instructions on how to build a 'homemade' bomb out of acid and industrial chemicals.
On Tuesday, he reportedly tweeted a picture of a Saudi building destroyed by a truck bomb in 1996 by Islamist militants, saying: “I try to visualise this pic as SIS, the headquarters of the British Secret Intelligence Service, at Vauxhall Cross.”
Tweeting under the handle @muslimvictory, Tariq also distributed Daesh (the Arabic acronym for ISIS) propaganda.
British authorities estimate around 500 British citizens have joined jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq.
The government has been discussing ways to deter Britons from leaving the UK to join jihadist groups abroad. However, the country’s top counter-terrorism police officer now admits British intelligence agencies have “more blind spots” when monitoring potential terrorist threats than five years ago.
Mark Rowley, Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner, told The Times: “We are less capable and have more blind spots than we had five years ago.
“Since the Snowden episode and with technology developments our intelligence picture is less good than it was – both domestic and international – and that makes operations harder to run.”
This comes as Nick Clegg announced the UK’s new counter-terror bill, to be published next week, will include a new system of relocating terror suspects to another part of Britain. This means a terror suspect could be placed in "internal exile" and forced to live elsewhere in the UK.
In July this year, Babar Ahmad, a British citizen, was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for supporting the Taliban regime in Afghanistan while it was protecting al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
Ahmad was accused of being the mastermind behind Azzam.com, the world’s first English language website dedicated to spreading jihad. The site published documents setting out Osama bin Laden’s call for a holy war against the West. Ahmad was also accused of sending recruits to train with the Taliban.