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'Taliban Terry' still being held over alleged Obama threats

While Islam convert is being held in security operation around US presidential visit, file going to the DPP on another man suspected of photographing Garden of Remembrance ‘with intent’.

Barack Obama is due in Ireland on 23 May
Barack Obama is due in Ireland on 23 May
Image: Charles Dharapak/AP/Press Association Images

GARDAI SAY THEY will hold a man arrested in connection with alleged death threats against US President Barack Obama for at least three days.

Khalid Kelly, a 44-year-old Dubliner who converted to Islam and has been dubbed ‘Taliban Terry’, was arrested at his Dublin residence yesterday evening on suspicion of threatening to kill the US leader. He can be held for up to three days before being charged or released.

The arrest came 10 days before Obama’s arrival in Ireland and four days after a British newspaper, the Sunday Mirror, printed an interview with Kelly. He is Ireland’s most outspoken supporter of al-Qaeda and its slain founder, Osama bin Laden.

Kelly was quoted as telling the newspaper that he expected al-Qaeda to kill Obama during his visit to Ireland in part because he said gardai were poorly armed. The article said Kelly would like to kill Obama himself but was too well-known to police here. Kelly said:

Personally I would feel happy if Obama was killed. How could I not feel happy when a big enemy of Islam is gone?

Obama is scheduled to spend May 23 in Dublin and the village of Moneygall, ancestral home of a great-great-great-grandfather who emigrated to the United States in 1850.

Ireland is already ramping up a security operation involving 10,000 police and troops to protect both him and Queen Elizabeth II, who arrives Tuesday in Ireland for a four-day visit.

Another man was arrested yesterday evening by officers on heightened security alert for the visits – he was suspected of taking photographs of the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin. Queen Elizabeth II is due to visit the area as part of her visit here next week.  Gardai told TheJournal.ie that this man has now been released from custody but that a file is being sent on the incident to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Who is ‘Taliban Terry’?

Khalid Kelly, a former Catholic altar boy from inner-city Dublin, converted to Islam while imprisoned in Saudi Arabia in 2000 for selling illegal alcohol.

He since has praised al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden on Irish TV, trained with the Taliban in northwest Pakistan and married a Pakistani woman, and has named one of their two sons Osama.

He told an TV documentary in March that Osama “is a name to be proud of” and now prefers himself to be called Abu Osama — “father of Osama.” But childhood friends and neighbors, who knew him by his pre-conversion name Terry, have nicknamed him ‘Taliban Terry’ instead.

Kelly appears in a 2010 US documentary, Holy Wars, inspecting guns for sale in a Pakistani border arms market. He returned to Dublin in April 2010 in murky circumstances. He claimed to have been deported from an unspecified country in Eastern Europe and lost his passport along the way.

Upon his return to Dublin he declared his interest in founding an al-Qaeda support group called Islam for Ireland, an idea denounced by the city’s Muslim community leaders.

Kelly says he seeks the imposition of strict Sharia law in Ireland, with public beheadings of drug dealers on O’Connell Street.

- additional reporting from AP

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