Australian teen turned Daesh militant reportedly died in Ramadi suicide attack

Published March 12th, 2015 - 09:44 GMT

The baby-faced Australian teenager who joined Islamic State [Daesh] terrorists in the Middle East has reportedly blown himself up in a suicide bomb attack.

The militants released a photo showing 18-year-old Jake Bilardi inside a white van, which is he thought to have died in.

Bilardi travelled from Melbourne to the Iraqi city of Ramadi in the Islamic State stronghold of Anbar last year, saying that he went to ISIS 'chasing death'.

He is said to have carried out one of 13 suicide car bomb attacks on Iraqi army and security positions in Ramadi on Wednesday.

It also emerged that Bilardi left improvised explosive devices at his family home in Melbourne before he fled to Iraq in August last year, with a blog post revealing that Bilardi was planning a terrorist attack in his home city if his dreams of fighting for ISIS were not realised.

Ms. Bishop said Bilardi's passport was cancelled in October last year, once authorities were made aware of his activities in the Middle East. 

On Thursday, an image of Bilardi sitting in front of an Islamic State flag was posted to Twitter with the caption: 'The Australian brother who carried out Martyrdom operation in Ramadi, Al Anbar.'

A separate Islamic State Twitter account posted a photo of Bilardi with caption: 'Breaking News: Australian citizen Jake Bilardi aka Abu Abdullah carried the martyrdom operation in #Ramadi, #Iraq.'

The Bilardi family has been greatly upset by the news with his aunt, Connie, clearly heard crying from inside the family home after word came through of the suicide bombing.

Relatives have hunkered down in their Ascot Vale home, in Melbourne's north-west, refusing to speak on the revelations.

A man, believed to be Connie Bilardi's partner, emerged from the family home on Thursday afternoon but would not be drawn on what relatives have been told about the matter nor how Jake's aunt was dealing with the shocking news out of the Middle East.

But she had told Daily Mail Australia, in an earlier interview, that the teenager's decision to join the ranks of ISIS 'was devastating, just devastating'.

When asked earlier this week how the young man's father was coping with the news his son was fighting with ISIS, his auntie's emotional response was: 'well, he's not'.

Australian authorities have yet to confirm the 18-year-old died in the attacks, which killed at least 10 people and wounded 30.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said: 'The Australian Government’s capacity to confirm reports of deaths in either Syria or Iraq is extremely limited. 

'Australians who become involved in overseas conflicts are putting their own lives in mortal danger. 

'Any Australians fighting with non-state militia in Syria or Iraq should end their involvement in the conflict now and leave the conflict zone.'

BBC Newsnight journalist Secunder Kermani said he interviewed Bilardi - who also used the Arabic name Abu Abdullah al-Australi - late last year.

'Abu Abdullah al Australi told me in December he came to ISIS "chasing death"... Today it was announced he died in a VBIED attack in Ramadi,' Mr. Kermani wrote on Twitter.

'I interviewed him last year and he said this was what he planned.'

In December, Mr. Kermani alerted Bilardi to the fact that a photo of him - holding an assault rifle in front of an IS flag as he sat in between two armed extremists - was being widely publicised in Western media.

'He had no idea the photo was causing such a stir,' Mr. Kermani tweeted on December 28.

'He said he had never agreed for his photo to be published publicly and was surprised it had been.

'When I showed him the photo he said "It's out now I guess, to be honest my biggest problem is that it's a bad photo of me. hahaha."'

 Bilardi has featured heavily on IS-linked social media channels, posing alongside heavily armed insurgents and the notorious black flag used by Jihadi groups.

The young man from Melbourne has previously sent a series of sickening tweets to federal police in his native Australia - threatening to carry out attacks on his home country.

In one of the messages, the deceased extremist boasted that the Sydney Lindt cafe siege was 'just the beginning for you dogs'.

The tweets reported by Daily Mail Australia in December also revealed he considered returning home to follow an Islamic State leader's order to kill disbelievers - including Australians.

'That's twice now I've seriously considered coming back and following Sheikh Adnani's fatwa in Australia,' he wrote.

 In December, Bilardi posted that he was in the Iraqi city of Ramadi and said he had 'made hijra [or departed] in August 2014.

The former Craigieburn Secondary College student is believed to have converted to Islam in 2012 when he was in Year 10, shortly after his mother died of cancer.

Footage has surfaced from his school days which appears to show Bilardi was bullied at the school.

The video shows him being 'happy slapped' - a cruel social media phenomenon in which bullies would slap their victim and upload the humiliating footage online. 

One of his former school friends Ulus Shefket told Daily Mail Australia that he was an 'outcast' at school.

He said: 'He was quiet and barely had any friends. Whenever you tried to joke with him he would react aggressively.

'He left Craigieburn Secondary College for another school because I think he felt like an outcast there.'

Another former classmate Josh Green-Mercier added: 'He always looked depressed and was always looking down.

'He never communicated unless it was to do with culture and beliefs or math, he always listened to our conversations. Not many people knew him and he never opened himself up.

But Mr. Green-Mercier also said that reports about his links to ISIS came as a 'surprise', adding: 'I didn't think he could join something like that.' 


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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