The Obama administration on Friday confirmed that a U.S. citizen took part in a suicide bombing in Syria, the first time that an American is believed to have done so in the three-year conflict there.
Officials with knowledge of the bombing identified the American as Moner Mohammad Abusalha of South Florida.
Authorities are exploring whether the man, who went by his nom de guerre, Abu Huraira al-Amriki, “the American,” traveled to Syria more than once, an official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss details of the investigation. Law enforcement officials were in contact with his family.
A senior FBI official said the bureau was aware that the man had traveled to the region before he killed himself.
Reports that an American was involved in the suicide attack in the northern province of Idlib on Sunday surfaced online this week. A video posted by Jabhat al-Nusra, a group linked to al-Qaeda, showed him and another fighter packing a large truck with shells and purportedly driving toward their destination.
The camera then shows a massive explosion in the Idlib countryside, alongside a picture of the man said to be the American cradling a kitten.
A Facebook profile of a man with the same name has pictures that appear to be of the same person shown in photos on jihadist Web sites.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed that an American was involved in the suicide bombing but declined to provide his name or any other information about him. The man’s name was first reported by the New York Times.