For almost a year Abu Abdullah was the most wanted man in Baghdad. He was known among his bosses inside Islamic State as “the planner” – the man responsible for dispatching suicide bombers to attack mosques, universities, checkpoints and market places across the Iraqi capital.
Now his home is a cramped cell in a high-security prison on the city’s fringe, where he has spent the 11 months since his capture. From there Abdullah outlined to the Guardian his role as the man who consigned more human bombs across Baghdad than, perhaps, any other throughout the decade-long insurgency.
Abdullah is one of the most sensitive of Iraq’s security prisoners and securing access to him took three months of negotiations with intelligence officials. Once permission to meet him was granted, he acknowledged that he had not chosen to be interviewed, but claimed to be speaking freely. In the wide-ranging, 90-minute discussion that followed he detailed his role as the architect of one of Iraq’s most savage and remorseless terror campaigns.