BEIRUT

Middle East

US bomber in Syria went home before attack: NYTimes

The report highlights a concern from Western powers, that Syria is becoming a training ground for citizens who could then return as battle-hardened veterans, ready to carry out attacks at home and abroad. (REUTERS/SANA/Handout)

WASHINGTON: The U.S. suicide bomber who blew himself up at an army post in northwest Syria spent several months back home after training as a militant, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

The report highlights a concern from Western powers, that Syria is becoming a training ground for citizens who could then return as battle-hardened veterans, ready to carry out attacks at home and abroad.

Moner Mohammad Abu Salha, alias Abu Hurayra al-Amriki, was believed to be the first American national to carry out such an attack in Syria's more than 3-year-old war.

The American jihadist on May 25 drove a truck bomb attack onto an army base in Jabal al-Arbaeen area of northwest Syria's Idlib province.

Citing previously unreleased information from a U.S. investigation, the New York Times reported that Abu Salha trained with an extremist group in Syria, returned home for several months and then left the country a final time.

An FBI spokesperson refused to comment directly on the investigation, but told the Times: "This incident exemplifies the challenges faced by the FBI in detecting U.S. citizens who seek to travel to Syria to engage in jihad."

Officials told the Times that the U.S. government was only able to determine Abu Salha's intention of carrying out a suicide attack after he arrived in Syria the last time.

"He was on the path at that point and had decided on launching the attack," one law enforcement official said. "It was fairly close in time that we learned that and that he launched it."

Earlier, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security had some indication of the Florida man's first trip to Syria, but had no information about his training as a militant or his intention of becoming a suicide attacker - thus giving authorities no reason to block his travel or detain him.

Estimates of the number of foreign fighters who have flooded into Syria in the past three years range from between 9,000 to 11,000.

 

Recommended

Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (http://bit.ly/vDisqus)

comments powered by Disqus
Summary

The U.S. suicide bomber who blew himself up at an army post in northwest Syria spent several months back home after training as a militant, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

The American jihadist on May 25 drove a truck bomb attack onto an army base in Jabal al-Arbaeen area of northwest Syria's Idlib province.

Officials told the Times that the U.S. government was only able to determine Abu Salha's intention of carrying out a suicide attack after he arrived in Syria the last time.


Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here