The State Department has confirmed for the first time, an American citizen was involved in a suicide bombing in Syria.
We don't know much about Abu Hurayra al-Amriki except that he grew up in Florida and went to school there. According to CNN, his name — Al-Amriki — translates to “The American.” (Via CNN)
Earlier this week, Jihadist social media accounts began circulating photos and praise for the American — prompting U.S. officials to investigate. (Via Twitter / @abu_muhajir1, Twitter / @abusulayman321, Twitter / @JN_edlib)
This video obtained by the Middle East Media Research Institute shows the suicide bombing of a restaurant popular with Syrian troops. U.S. officials say Al-Amriki helped carry out the attack.
It’s believed he was working with Al-Nusra Front — that’s a radical Islamist group in Syria aligned with Al-Qaeda. (Via Eretz Zen)
Al-Nusra is one of the rebel groups fighting against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, but is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S. (Via U.S. Department of State)
On Friday, the State Department had this to say.
PSAKI: "I can confirm this individual was a U.S. citizen involved in a suicide bombing in Syria ...We are concerned about the flow of foreign fighters into and out of Syria.”
News of Al-Amriki only adds to the concerns of foreign fighters getting recruited in Syria. The fear is, they’ll slip back into the U.S. undetected and carry out an attack on U.S. soil.
Earlier this month, FBI director James Comey said dozens of Americans were joining Syria’s civil war. (Via Al Jazeera)
It’s believed there are 12,000 foreign fighters now in Syria, with most joining two Al-Qaeda offshoots — al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. (Via Al Alam)
GLENMORE TRENHEAR_HARVEY: "These fighters — first of all they go to military madrasas, they are experienced in firing AK-47s, and they have been radicalized." (Via Al Jazeera)
As The New York Times notes, it's become difficult for U.S. officials to track Westerners in Syria because “many had traveled there for humanitarian reasons, presenting a challenge in determining who might be planning to carry out terrorist attacks in the United States when they return.”
The FBI, CIA and Department of Homeland Security recently launched a special task force designed to prevent American jihadists from returning to U.S. soil undetected.