Republic of Ireland news

Dublin imam ‘feared' suicide bomber Terence Kelly would strike in Ireland

Dubliner Terence Kelly had converted to Islam while in jail in Saudi Arabia and later joined the Islamic State in Iraq
John Monaghan

A LEADING Muslim cleric in Ireland has said he was "relieved" at the death of a Dubliner who was killed carrying out a bomb attack for Islamic State in Iraq.

Shaykh Umar Al-Qadrim, the head imam of the Islamic Centre in Dublin, said he had feared Terence Kelly would "commit an atrocity in Ireland".

The 49-year-old, who was born and grew up in Dublin, had changed his name to Khalid Kelly and was a vocal supporter of al-Qaeda.

He is understood to have detonated a car bomb after driving the vehicle at Iraqi forces in the city of Mosul on Friday.

Islamic State (IS) have been battling in Mosul to avoid the city being retaken by Iraqi forces.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed it is investigating the reports.

A regular contributor to media outlets, Kelly once said he dreamt of seeing "the black flag of Islam" over Dáil Éireann.

Shaykh Al-Qadrim tweeted that he "was the first Irish suicide bomber and hopefully last".

"Feel relieved that Khalid Kelly is no more. I was always afraid he would one day commit an atrocity in Ireland."

News of Kelly's death was reported by several agencies affiliated to Islamic State and it released a picture on Twitter of him standing in front of a vehicle with a Kalashnikov rifle.

The former altar boy converted to Islam after working in Saudi Arabia as a nurse, where he was jailed for producing and selling alcohol.

In 2003, he appeared on The Late Late Show on RTÉ with radical Islamic preacher Anjem Choudary, who was jailed for five-and-a-half years at the Old Bailey in London in September for inviting support for IS.

During his appearance Kelly did not condemn the 9/11 attackers and said: "They are my Muslim brothers and I have to support them... you have to take it in context... it is very easy to speak about them in a bad way."

Speaking about the victims of the attacks, he said: "These people would have died wherever they were in the world... their time is up."

In 2009, Kelly was living in the Swat Valley in Pakistan, just 60 miles from the Afghan border.

He is believed to have had three children and in 2009 was pictured with one son, whom he called Osama.

The 49-year-old referred to himself in recent years as Abu Osama Al-Irlandi and after returning to Ireland, was arrested in 2011 for threatening to kill US President Barack Obama during a visit.

He spoke of his desire to see strict Sharia law introduced in Ireland, including the public beheading of drug dealers on O'Connell Street.

It is understood that Kelly left Ireland for the last time last year and travelled to Iraq to join IS.

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