A Florida Man Carried Out a Suicide Bombing in Syria This Week
U.S. officials have confirmed that the still-unnamed man grew up in Florida; images at right show the truck bomb he blew up in a suicide attack.
On May 25, a massive truck bomb driven by a suicide bomber blew through a Syrian neighborhood, the latest strike in the nation's brutal civil war. This bomb was different though; the Islamist force claiming credit quickly posted video of the attack and claimed that the jihadi who carried it out was an American.
Last night, government forces confirmed that a U.S. citizen had in fact been the suicide bomber and added another detail: He grew up in Florida and went to school in the Sunshine State. Another official tells the Washington Post he was more specifically from South Florida.
That's as much information as government sources were willing to confirm to CNN and ABC last night, but the jihadis behind the attack posted several photos of the man before his suicide bombing.
The rebel al-Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda linked group in Syrian, identified the man by a nom de guerre: Abu Hurayra Al-Amriki. (Al-Amriki means "the American" in Arabic), and posted a Youtube video that showed bombs being loaded into an armored truck and then a massive explosion in a nearby village.
Another fighter linked to al-Nusra posted the now infamous photo of the bomber holding a cat with the message: "Abu Hurayra Al-Amriki performed a martyrdom operation in Idlib, Jabal Al-Arba'een. May Allah accept him."
Another tweet connected to al-Nusra showed the same man at a training camp, apparently wearing a suicide vest:
And a second post from that same account appears to show the American in another training camp:
Whoever the man is, his participating in a Islamist attack in Syria is worrisome to U.S. anti-terror officials, who say thousands of Westerners have now traveled to the war-torn nation to participate in increasingly radicalized rebel factions.
"There's going to be a diaspora out of Syria," FBI Director James Comey tells CNN. "And we are determined not to let lines be drawn from Syria today to a future 9/11."
In fact, the man wouldn't even be the first rebel fighter in Syria with Florida ties. Last July, passports belonging to an Egyptian-American man named Amiir Farouk Ibrahim were discovered in an Al Qaeda-linked base in Iraq used to stage attacks in Syria.
Ibrahim was born in Pittsburgh but earned a college degree in business administration at Florida International University in 2008, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
Anyone recognize the latest Florida jihadi? Send your tips to Riptide.
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.