U.S. identifies American suicide bomber in Syria
The U.S. administration identifies the first American citizen to have carried out a suicide bombing in Syria as Mohammad Abu-Salha
The U.S. administration on Friday identified an American citizen who carried out a deadly suicide bombing in northern Syria.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki identified the U.S. national as Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha.
"The American citizen involved in the suicide bombing in Syria is believed to be Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha," Psaki said in a statement, referring to a truck bombing last Sunday in Idlib, a northern province of Syria.
Earlier Friday, the U.S. State Department confirmed that an American had carried out a suicide bombing in Idlib, as had been claimed by the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front.
In a New York Times report, the man was described as being in his 20s, from Florida and of Middle Eastern descent.
According to a video of the suicide bombing in Idlib released by supporters of the rebel al-Nusra Front, the American was identified by his nom de guerre Abu Hurayra al-Amriki.
Watch a video showing the operation carried out by the U.S. citizen here.
The video depicts a huge explosion as well as footage of a young, bearded man cradling a cat who was identified as the attacker.
The New York Times quoted a senior U.S. law enforcement official as saying that the truck attack might have occurred during Abu Huraira’s second visit to Syria.
One al-Nusra Front militant told the New York Times that Abu Huraira was an Arab American who spoke limited Arabic but who was dedicated to Jihadism.
“He was a generous, brave, tough man, always on the front lines in battles,” said one militant, who identified himself by Abu Abdulrahman.
“When his turn came up … [Abu Huraira] was very happy, because he will meet his God after that,” Abu Abdulrahman said via Facebook.
Western powers have expressed concern that some of their citizens have traveled to fight in the civil war in Syria, some of them joining extremist groups that might one day seek to strike their home countries.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group with ties to the Syrian opposition, said dozens of Syrian soldiers were killed in four suicide bombings in the Idlib region on Sunday.