What are the last instructions before the terrorists strike and kill as many innocent people as possible?
For months, BILD reporter Björn Stritzel pretended to be an Islamist willing to carry out an attack (always in consultation with the security authorities).
Abu K. is my guide at ISIS. He wants to assist me in the lead-up to my attack – my death. But we are not there yet.
First, we deal with my video that is intended to be published online shortly after the attack. My business card of death. It is also the cynical, inhuman point of the attack, as I now realize.
Abu K. is very keen on my affirmation of ISIS. He keeps explaining to me what kind of text I am supposed to read out in the martyr’s video.
“Don’t say: ‘I’m doing this because you attack us’ or ‘If you stop, we will also stop’. More vigour is better,” Abu K. writes to me and formulates: “I am doing this, because the caliph has instructed me to attack the crusaders and their citizens.”
Abu K. unambiguously states what ISIS is about: “The whole idea that this is merely a political war, is wrong. We kill them, because Allah told us to, and not because they attack us. The only way out for them is to convert or to pay a head tax.”
The guidelines provided by Abu K. correspond with the martyr’s videos by the Würzburg and Ansbach attackers (both in July, 2016). For ISIS, it is primarily the recognition value of the messages that counts. Everybody is supposed to immediately understand who has attacked here, independently of the individual attacker.”
The perfidious point is: it does not matter to Abu K. how and where I will strike. It also does not matter so much to him who and how many people will be hit. What matters is the message: ISIS has struck in the West again. ISIS is still there, despite all safety precautions. ISIS can continue to kill.
He therefore pushes me to send him the video: “If it is already finished, send it now so you don’t have to burden yourself with it later.”
Producing a video would be too risky for me, even if I were masked. In order to buy time, I ask Abu K. if I can first send him a draft of the text for the martyr’s video. He agrees: “Of course, Akhi. I have two brothers who are German native speakers and can help.”
First I make up a real name that is as innocuous as possible (“Markus Nowotny”) and a combat name of the type that jihadists choose for themselves. I decide on “Abu Uthman al-Almani”, inspired by the third rightly guided caliph of Islam. ISIS members like having pompous names. The name affix “al-Almani” – the German – shows my background.
I include some mistakes in my confession text so that my two German brothers need a bit more time. Among other things, I mention various dead jihadists whom ISIS also positively refers to. I add the formula “rahimullah” (may Allah accept him).
With this formula in the video, the Islamists are, as it were, “ISIS-officially” declared dead. In the case of Osama bin Laden (killed 2011), also revered by ISIS, this is uncontroversial. Things are different concerning former rapper Denis Cuspert aka Deso Dogg – the most famous German face of the terror group.
Cuspert has been declared dead more than once. Even the Pentagon claimed in the autumn of 2015 to have killed him with an airstrike. According to information available to BILD, there were doubts whether Cuspert was actually dead even back then. ISIS never made an official statement about the whereabouts of the man from Berlin. The claims about his death were neither disputed nor confirmed.
In my text claiming responsibility, I therefore also mention Cuspert’s combat name “Abu Talha al-Almani” and add a “may Allah accept him”.
I am curious about the revised version that the German brothers will send back. Have they deleted Cuspert from my confession? Or have they declared him dead?
Their solution is more elegant. They simply add the name “Bekkay Harrach” behind “Abu Talha al-Almani” – an Islamist from Bonn who sent videos threatening Germany from the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2010 and was later killed. Harrach is also revered by many German ISIS members. Cuspert had taken over his combat name.
In the remainder of my text, I repeat the usual threats and curses against the “disbelievers” and “crusaders”: “I am a soldier of the Islamic State in Germany, and with Allah’s permission, I will strike in the heart of the capital of the crusaders’ state of Germany.”
I am finished preparing the video. But now the German brother who corrected my text sends me a message from the account of Abu K., my guide. “Akhi, you don’t necessarily have to make a video”.
It is more important to him that the attack is carried out.
I have avoided having to make a video and can continue to pretend that I am planning an attack. My guides now keep quiet for increasingly long periods.
However, every time a potential terrorist is arrested in Germany, my mobile phone flashes. Abu K. asks whether I am fine. The ISIS instructor is concerned about me, his next potential suicide attacker.