Jake Bilardi interview: ‘I am a regular soldier of the Islamic State’

“Do you want to speak?”

In late December last year, Jake Bilardi – the Melbourne teenager who ran away to fight with Islamic State – got in touch with me via a direct message on Twitter.

I’d been doing research for a documentary and had come across a profile that appeared to be that of an Australian Islamic State supporter in Iraq. He went by the name of Abu Abdullah and said he was a convert who used to frequent the Hume Islamic Youth Centre (HIYC) in Melbourne.

At the time of the interview, I was unable to confirm the identity of “Abu Abdullah” or whether his claims were credible. It was only this week when his name and identity were revealed that I realized “Abu Abdullah” was Jake Bilardi.