The seventh issue of ISIS's English-language magazine Dabiq, released on February 12, 2015, features an interview with Belgian ISIS fighter 'Abd Al-Hamid Abaaoud, aka Abu Umar al-Baljiki, the leader of the terrorist cell that was the target of the Belgian authority's January 15, 2015 raid in Verviers. In the interview, he tells how he traveled from Syria to Belgium with the intent of carrying out terrorism there, and how he avoided being caught in the raid and managed to return to Syria despite being wanted by security and intelligence apparatuses. He also discusses his co-conspirators, Belgian ISIS members Khalid Ben Larbi (aka Abu Zubair Al-Baljiki) and Sufian Amghar (aka Abu Khalid Al-Baljiki), who traveled with him to Belgium and were killed in the shootout with the security forces.
The following are excerpts from the interview, in the original English, and some of the photos that accompanied it:
"DĀBIQ: Why did you go to Belgium?"
"ABŪ ‘UMAR: Alhamdulillāh, Allah chose me [and] Abuz-Zubayr al-Baljīkī (Khālid) and Abū Khālid al-Baljīkī (Sufyān) to travel to Europe in order to terrorize the crusaders waging war against the Muslims. As you know, Belgium is a member of the crusader coalition attacking the Muslims of Iraq and Shām [Syria]."
"DĀBIQ: Was it difficult for you to go to Belgium?"
"ABŪ ‘UMAR: We faced a number of trials during the journey. We spent months trying to find a way into Europe, and by Allah’s strength, we succeeded in finally making our way to Belgium. We were then able to obtain weapons and set up a safe house while we planned to carry out operations against the crusaders."
"DĀBIQ: How did the kāfir[infidel] media get a hold of your picture as a soldier in jihād?"
"ABŪ ‘UMAR: A brother had taken video footage of some of us before a battle, but his camera got lost and was later sold by a murtadd [apostate] to a Western journalist. I suddenly saw my picture all over the media, but alhamdulillāh, the kuffār were blinded by Allah. I was even stopped by an officer who contemplated me so as to compare me to the picture, but he let me go, as he did not see the resemblance!"
"DĀBIQ: If you weren’t with them when the raid occurred, why did you become a suspect?"
"ABŪ ‘UMAR: The intelligence knew me from before as I had been previously imprisoned by them. After the raid on the safe house, they figured out that I had been with the brothers and that we had been planning operations together. So they gathered intelligence agents from all over the world – from Europe and America – in order to detain me. They arrested Muslims in Greece, Spain, France, and Belgium in order to apprehend me. Subhānallāh, all those arrested were not even connected to our plans!"
"DĀBIQ: Tell us about your journey to Shām."
"ABŪ ‘UMAR: Alhamdulillāh, Allah blinded their vision and I was able to leave and come to Shām despite being chased after by so many intelligence agencies. All this proves that a Muslim should not fear the bloated image of the crusader intelligence. My name and picture were all over the news yet I was able to stay in their homeland, plan operations against them, and leave safely when doing so became necessary."