A suicide bombing last Sunday that killed at least 17 people was conducted by an American citizen from Florida on behalf of al-Qaida, CNN reported Friday, citing U.S. officials.
The man was identified as Abu Hurayra al-Amriki by the militant group al-Nusra which is blacklisted by the U.S. authorities, took an ammunition-laden truck to a hill side to the northern region of the country, and set it off, shouting “Allahu-Akbar” at the military checkpoints in Jabal Al-Arba’een in Idlib province. The explosion was followed by gunfire, confirmed by insurgents on social media and in a YouTube titled "the American martyrdom from al-Nusra Front.”
"Abu Hurayra Al-Amriki performed a martyrdom operation in Idlib, Jabal Al-Arba'een. May Allah accept him," Abu Suleiman al-Muhajer, an al-Qaida militant said on the website Hanein.
According to Jen Psaki, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman, confirmed that the person in question was an American but said that in their records, his name was Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha. According to U.S. officials, Al-Amriki was one of the Americans whose movements were being tracked by the country’s intelligence as he joined the militants to fight against the Syrian government.
Another video on YouTube reportedly said that Al-Amriki detonated the biggest vehicle during the attack, which had 17 tons of explosives, including artillery shells.
"There's going to be a diaspora out of Syria," FBI Director James Comey said last week, according to CNN, adding: "And we are determined not to let lines be drawn from Syria today to a future 9/11."
U.S. authorities have been trying to apprehend recruiters who target young people from Western countries to engage in jihad on behalf of Syria and are funneling money to expand the conflict. The concern among officials is that those young people might pose a terror threat they return.