Abu Hurayra al-Amriki, an American who reportedly carried out a suicide bombing in civil war-torn Syria, is now being investigated by U.S. officials.
Originally reported by al-Qaida-linked rebel group Al-Nusra Front, the report, which claims al-Amriki's was one of four successful bombings carried out May 25, has not been substantiated. Reuters reported
that if verified, al-Amriki would be the first American to commit such a crime on behalf of al Qaida, which seeks to unseat President Bashar al Assad.
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Twitter messages and a YouTube video show al-Amriki with three other suicide bombers — one Syrian and two foreigners — among footage of an explosive-filled truck and a hilltop structure being actively bombed.
"His choice of a suicide bombing is a clear indication that he intended on staying and dying in Syria; never to again return," said Laith Alkhouri, an NBC News counterterrrorism analyst, in one of the organization's reports
. "There is no doubt his image and action will be used in future propaganda material specifically for this goal."
On Wednesday, U.S. intelligence officials said they're confident "dozens" of Americans have joined in the fighting, with most if not all taking the side of one rebel group or another.
Between 2009 and 2011, three Americans were confirmed to have perpetrated suicide bombings on behalf of al Shabab, an al Qaida-linked group in Somalia.
A researcher with a University of London think tank, Shiraz Maher, said one al Qaida group released a promotional cut of a forthcoming film about an American fighter in Syria, which could very well be Abu Hurayra al-Amriki.
The video reportedly tells "The story of an American Muhajir (visitor) in Sham (Syria)," and features a burning American flag and a call to "Join the Caravan of Jihad and Martyrdom."
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