This week, an American Islamist who has been fighting with an al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria perpetrated a suicide strike, the first to be carried out by a U.S. citizen in Syria. He was part of a contingent of Western Jihadis fighting in the country, who officials fear could bring the war back home.
Authorities confirmed yesterday that the man grew up and went to school in Florida, but did not reveal his name. In Syria, he went by Abu Hurayra Al-Amriki, and was praised for the killing on social media sites, according to CNN, which also notes that "Al-Amriki" means American in Arabic.
According to the New York Times, more than 70 Americans are currently fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and more than 3,000 Westerners are fighting in the civil war altogether. To prevent the jihadis from carrying out attacks on Western soil, European and American officials are making it more difficult for them to return. The U.K. has revoked the citizenship of 20 jihadis, and has made 40 "Syria-related arrests" over three months this year. Last week, British citizen Mashudur Choudhury was convicted for his actions in Syria, the first to be officially punished for fighting alongside Syrian Islamists. "There's going to be a diaspora out of Syria," said FBI Director James Comey, "And we are determined not to let lines be drawn from Syria today to a future 9/11."