Top United States intelligence officials believe a suicide bomber in Syria was an American citizen from Florida, reports said on Thursday.
American officials are reviewing a video that reportedly shows a truck being loaded with shells and driving towards its target. “The truck was loaded with munitions, then driven up a hillside in northern Syria. Moments later, there was a massive blast followed by cries of “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great” in Arabic, and the rattling of gunfire,” CNN said.
The man called by the nom de guerre Abu Hurayra Al-Amriki was a U.S. citizen, who grew up in Florida and went to school there. He’s the first American to carry out a suicide attack in Syria.
U.S. officials are reaching out to the man’s family, and are investigating how he was recruited.
Brutal terrorist video surfaces Al-Amriki is among a group of Americans whom intelligence agents have been trying to keep tabs on since they went to Syria some months ago to join extremists in the fight against the Syrian government, CNN reported.
Abu Farouk al Shamy, a spokesman for the rebel Suqour al-Sham battalion, told CNN that the Sunday attack was executed in coordination with the al-Nusra Front, an al Qaeda-linked organization that the U.S. government has blacklisted as a foreign terror organization.
One video on YouTube, with the title “the American martyrdom from al-Nusra Front,” identifies the suicide bomber as Abu Hurayra Al-Amriki. This video and several other social media posts feature a picture of a bearded man with that name, smiling and holding a cat.
U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials have expressed concerns about Americans joining the fight in Syria, including with groups like the jihadist al-Nusra Front. The worry is that they and other Westerners might pose a threat when they return a home.
“There’s going to be a diaspora out of Syria,” FBI Director James Comey said last week. “And we are determined not to let lines be drawn from Syria today to a future 9/11.”