American carries out suicide attack in Syria
Reports from Syria suggest that an American carried out a suicide attack as part of Syria's civil war in what is believed to be the first documented suicide attack by an American citizen.
The New York Times reports that the attacker worked with the Nusra Front, an extremist group with ties to Al Qaeda. The Nusra Front is one of the most prominent and effective rebel groups fighting against the government of Bashar al-Assad. Although government sources will not identify the American, they anonymously confirmed his existence and role in the attack.
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The bombing took place in Idlib, a northern province of Syria. Online accounts of the incident said the attacker went by Abu Huraira al-Amriki. A picture of someone by that name showed a man with a blond beard, according to the Times.
The Times also reports that one of the major security concerns stemming from the Syrian Civil War is that Westerners who go to fight against the government in Syria will return to their native countries and carry out attacks at the behest of their battlefield allies.
To combat this concern the U.S. government has established a joint task force involving members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, National Counterterrorism Center, and Homeland Security, according to the Times.
This is not the first American known to have fought in Syria alongside anti-government forces. A Michigan woman's death in Syria was confirmed in 2013. In another incident a former U.S. Army member fought alongside the Nusra Front before being arrested on his return to the United States. He was eventually released after a trial.
Americans fighting in civil conflicts abroad has a long history dating back at least as far as the Spanish Civil War, where the author Earnest Hemingway drove ambulances and other took up arms against Fascist forces.