The criminal exploits of Florida Man have become something of a running joke on the internet, but the latest dispatch from Florida is a lot harder to make light of. The U.S. State Department has confirmed today that a suicide bombing in Syria on Sunday was indeed the work of an American citizen.
Abu Huraira al-Amriki — or “The American,” as he’s known on jihadist social media circles, where a video of the bombing in the province of Idlib was posted — is said to have traveled to Syria to join extremists fighting against the Bashar al-Assad regime. Officials have yet to reveal the man’s real name, CNN reports:
News of the attack was first posted on Twitter earlier this week by the Nusra Front, a group linked to al Qaeda, the New York Times explains.
The video shows the man packing explosives into a vehicle with other fighters, then a large explosion in the distance set next to the below picture of Abu Huraira holding a cat:
— عمروف (@AMROOF1985) May 27, 2014
More from the Times:
A Syrian fighter from the Nusra Front recalled Abu Huraira as an Arab-American who spoke Arabic poorly but was dedicated to the jihadist cause.
“He was a generous, brave, tough man, always on the front lines in battles,” said the fighter, who identified himself by a nom de guerre, Abu Abdulrahman, and said that he was currently in Idlib Province, where Abu Huraira reportedly died.
“When his turn came up” to carry out a suicide bombing, Abu Huraira “was very happy, because he will meet his God after that,” Abu Abdulrahman said via Facebook.
Abu Huraira is one of about 100 Americans who have travelled to Syria to join the fight, officials believe.
>> Luke O’Neil is a journalist and blogger in Boston. Follow him on Twitter (@lukeoneil47).
Have a tip we should know? firstname.lastname@example.org