New First in Syria War: American Suicide Bomber
Attack alarms counterterror experts
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2014 3:11 AM CDT
Updated May 29, 2014 7:53 AM CDT
The man at the far right was the American bomber, according to the Nusra Front extremist group.   (Flashpoint Intelligence)

(Newser) – One of the scores of American citizens believed to be fighting alongside rebels has blown himself up for the cause, US counterterrorism officials say. An al-Qaeda-linked group announced that the man, known to them as Abu Hurayra al-Amriki—Abu Hurayra the American—carried out a suicide truck bombing against government forces over the weekend. Officials tell NBC that they have confirmed the bombing and identified the US citizen, but they haven't released his name or hometown.

Rebel sources say they believe the man was of Palestinian descent. US officials believe at least 70 Americans have traveled to Syria to fight the Assad regime, and federal authorities have created a special team of analysts to make sure they don't return home undetected. An American suicide bomber in Syria is a "potential game changer," a terrorism expert at the RAND Corporation tells the New York Times. "It indicates that Americans are honing their ability to conduct terrorist attacks," gaining skills that could someday be used for attacks inside the US.