On May 27, a leader of rebel forces battling against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad tweeted that Abu Hurayra Al-Amirki, a man identified as an American by his Arabic war name, had died in a “martyrdom operation.” Abu Hurayra Al-Amriki translates to Abu Hurayra “the American.”
We don’t yet know his birth name, but here is what we do know about Abu Hurayra Al-Amriki.
1. Sources Say He Carried Out a Suicide Attack on a Government Site
According to a man who tweeted about Abu Hurayra’s death, the American died in a suicide attack against Syrian government-controlled sites in Jabal Al-Arba’een in the Idib province.
The picture tweeted of the young caucasian man, posted above, shows him smiling, bearded and holding a cat.
The men killed in the suicide attack reportedly loaded the truck, seen in the tweet above, with explosives before detonating their vests.
2. He Was Connected With Jabhat al-Nusra
The tweets of Abu Hurayra’s death emerged from Twitter accounts connected to Jabhat al-Nusra, or the Nusra Front, a radical anti-Assad group fighting in the Syrian civil war. Although it is unclear exactly what role he plays in the Front, his sympathetic language, reoccurring use of the word “martyr,” and his almost 11,000 followers on Twitter suggest he is a leader of some sort.
The Nusra front is known in Syria for having deep ties to al-Qaeda, and in 2012, the U.S. State Department put out an official statement declaring that the al-Nusrah Front was a front and alias for Iraq’s al-Qaeda.
They State Department writes:
The Department of State has amended the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 designations of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) to include the following new aliases: al-Nusrah Front, Jabhat al-Nusrah, Jabhet al-Nusra, The Victory Front, and Al-Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant.
3. The State Department Will Not Reveal His Identity
American law enforcement and counterterrorism officials, speaking to NBC on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that an American had died in the suicide attack in question. However, they refused to release the man’s identity or hometown.
4. He Appears in Nusra Videos & Images
NBC reports that a man resembling Abu Hurayra appears in the video above, posted by al-Nusra onto Youtube. The video, uploaded on May 26, was given the title, “One of the martyrdom operations carried out by the Front victory in the mount forty Idlib. The video shows three men loading what appear to be explosive devices into a truck.
5. He’s the Second American ‘Martyr’ to Die in Syria’s Civil War
Syrianshuhada.com, an anti-Assad website that claims to keep a tally of the “martyrs” who have died in the Syrian civil war, identify Abu Hurayra as the second American to die in Syria during the fight. The first was Nicole Mansfield, a Michigan woman who converted to Islam before moving to Syria to fight against the Assad regime.
You can read more about her below: