The State Department confirmed Friday that a U.S. citizen from Florida launched a suicide bombing against Syrian government troops earlier this week in what is believed to be the first time an American has been involved in such attacks since the start of the Syrian civil war.
He was among a group of Americans whom intelligence agents have been trying to keep tabs on since they went to Syria months ago to join in the fight against the Syrian regime, officials confirmed.
A spokesman for the rebel Suqour Al-Sham battalion said this week that the attack was executed in coordination with the Al-Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda-linked organization that the US government has labeled a foreign terror organization.
The attack struck Syrian military checkpoints in Jabal Al-Arba’een, near the city of Ariha in Idlib province along what officials have described as a key rebel supply route.
Syrian activists and social media postings said four vehicles filled with explosives were part of the attack, and a YouTube video said the American detonated the biggest one, which contained 17 tons of explosives, including artillery shells.
Details of the American’s involvement in the attack remained unconfirmed, including whether he was driving an armored truck, tanker or some other vehicle.