Last updated: 30 May, 2014

US confirms American carried out Syria suicide bombing

The United States confirmed Friday that it believes a US citizen carried out a suicide bombing within Syria, as had been claimed by hardline Islamist rebels.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki did not provide any details about the suspect, who had been identified in a New York Times report as a man in his 20s from Florida and of Middle Eastern descent.

“I can confirm that this individual was a US citizen,” Psaki said, adding that he was “involved in a suicide bombing inside Syria.”

Western powers have expressed concern that some of their citizens have traveled to fight in the civil war in Syria, some of them joining extremist groups that might one day seek to strike their home countries.

According to a video released by supporters of the rebel Al-Nusra Front, the American — fighting under the name Abu Hurayra al-Amriki — carried out a suicide truck bombing in the Syrian town of Idlib.

The video, reported by the private terrorism watchdog SITE Intelligence Group, depicts a huge explosion as well as footage of a young, bearded man cradling a cat and identified as the attacker.

The bombing is thought to have taken place on Sunday. The New York Times report cited US officials as saying they thought it was the first such suicide attack to have been carried out by an American.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group with ties to the Syrian opposition, said dozens of Syrian soldiers were killed in four suicide bombings in the Idlib region on Sunday.