Suicide Bomber in Syria Was American

Thursday, 29 May 2014 07:50 AM

By Elliot Jager

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A suicide bomber who blew himself up with an explosive-laden truck in Syria was an American citizen, officials have confirmed, according to The New York Times.

The attack, against a government target in northern Syria, was carried out at the behest of an al-Qaida offshoot, the Nusra Front. The terrorist, whose identity has yet to be released by U.S. intelligence officials, went by the pseudonym Abu Huraira al-Amriki.

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A photograph posted by the group on the Internet shows a smiling, young, blond, and bearded man wearing a suicide vest. The group tweeted "Abu Huraira al-Amriki performed a martyrdom operation in Idlib, Jabal Al-Arba'een. May Allah accept him," NBC News reported.

Al-Qaida affiliated groups are working hard to recruit Americans who have been drawn to the fighting in Syria so that they can be trained to conduct terrorist operations against the U.S. homeland upon their return, the Times reported.

Counterterrorism officials say at least 70 Americans, including converts to Islam, have gone to Syria. Most are still there; a few have been killed. Analysts are working to track them to ensure they do not re-enter the country unnoticed, according to the Times.

"The recent flood of militants into the country poses a serious challenge, as these individuals could be trained to plan and carry out attacks around the world," Deputy FBI Director Mark Giuliano said in prepared remarks, according to the Times.

RAND Corp. specialist Seth Jones agrees that the Islamist extremists could sooner or later come back to carry out missions inside the United States or against American interests overseas. That would be a "potential game changer," he said, according to the Times.

American Muslims have carried out previous suicide bombings for another al-Qaida affiliated group in Somalia as recently as 2011, but this was the first known suicide attack by an American in Syria, NBC reported.

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