News / Middle East

US Officials Identify Syrian Suicide Bomber as American

Kent Klein
The U.S. State Department has confirmed that an American carried out the May 25 suicide bombing in Syria. It is believed to be the first time a U.S. citizen has been involved in an attack of this kind as part of the Syrian civil war.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed Friday that the man's name was Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha.

US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki (State Dept. video)US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki (State Dept. video)
US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki (State Dept. video)
US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki (State Dept. video)
"I can confirm that this individual was a U.S. citizen involved in a suicide bombing in Syria," she said. "We don't have further information beyond that to share at this time."

Abu-Salha, who had lived in the U.S. state of Florida, was identified as the man who launched Sunday's truck bombing outside a restaurant where Syrian government troops gathered in the government-held northwestern city of Idlib.

Opposition forces said he was a U.S. citizen who called himself Abu Hurayra al-Amriki. The name al-Amriki means "the American."

It is not known how many people died in the bombing.

Abu-Salha was identified as having taken part in activities with the al-Qaida-linked insurgency group Nusra Front. That group and the Islamic Front's Suqour al-Sham claimed responsibility for the blast.

Psaki says it is difficult for the U.S. to measure how many foreign fighters are taking part in Syria's three-year civil war.

"We are concerned about the flow of the foreign fighters into and out of Syria," she said. "It's difficult to provide that level of analysis or a precise figure but we're engaged in a focus outreach effort with key partner governments regarding our shared concern of foreign fighters to the Syrian conflict."

Opposition rebels said Abu-Salha's truck was loaded with 16 tons of explosives, headed for the al-Fanar restaurant. It was one of four truck bombings that day in Idlib province.

At least 160,000 people have died in fighting between government forces and opposition groups trying to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

You May Like

Video Egyptian Journalists Call for Freedom of Press

Despite release of al-Jazeera journalists and others, Egyptian Journalist Syndicate says some remain imprisoned More

Turkey Survey Indicates Traditional Distrusts, Shift to the West

Comprehensive public opinion survey also found a large majority of those interviewed distrust all countries other than country’s neighbor, Azerbaijan More

Pakistan Court Upholds Death Sentence in Blasphemy Killing

Highest court upholds sentence of Mumtaz Qadri convicted of 2011 killing a provincial governor for criticizing country’s controversial blasphemy law More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
May 31, 2014 10:33 PM
There are lot of Africans who love this nation. America needs to come to the realization that they cannot separate themselves from Africa. We have ties to this land. Our great grand parents, our aunties, Our Uncles Brothers and Sisters came to this Nation as slaves. When we talked about America, we see the hands of the African Americans that brought development to this nation. Those that worked hard as slave to developed this nation. Those that fought for freedom of the Blacks in this nation. America and Africa are interrelated. And that is the truth. So it is time that the U.S revisit her immigration policy when it comes to Africa. The root of the African American in this nation is Africa. This is the truth and nothing but the whole truth. My kids that were born in this nation, my grand kids and great grand kids will trice their root from one man who came to this beautiful nation, and He is none other than Leroy Padmore from Liberia. Africa have ties to this nation. And if they do their DNA, it will trice them back to Liberia. you cannot separate America from Africa. America needs to look at their immigration policy when it comes to Africa. There are young and old Africans who love this nation and want to come here and live the American dream too. But instead, they give visa to the people that hate our country, hate our way of life, hate our freedom. the Africans just want to live the American dream. God Bless America

by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
May 31, 2014 7:53 PM
The U.S. needs to reexamine her immigration policy when it comes to Africa and who they allowed to become citizens. The U.S. needs to check those people carefully, before allowing them to be a resident or citizen. We need people in America that love our country and have the hearts for this nation. people with dreams that will take America to another level on the international scene. We don't need people like Abu Salha that will destroy our image on the international scene. The U.S. gives these people visa to come and destroy our country, killed our citizens, if you hate the U.S. so much, why are you here?
Mr. Salha had the opportunity to live the American dream, But he chooses to do the wrong thing. The U.S. don't need these kind of people here. Those kind of people are big embarrassment to themselves and to society. So the U.S. needs to look at her immigration policy when it comes to Africa. The African people need those opportunity to better up their lives that people like Mr. Salha is giving away. But instead the U.S. immigration policy is to hard on the African people. Even for the Africans to get visiting visa, it is very hard, But people from the Middle East, Europe, Asia,and South America, those are the ones that get visa to come and destroy our country. So the U.S. needs to look at her immigration policy for Africa, not just South America. The Africans love this country too. God Bless America

by: jose d. martinez from: hawaii
May 31, 2014 6:14 PM
so what? crazy people come from all walks of life. this nut is no different. to bad he paid with his life for his foolishness.

by: the American From Arizona from: United states of America
May 31, 2014 6:08 PM
Stupid Arab american .. He Would rather Go fight in a country that his parents most likey ran away from to give him a better future

by: EmiraAlex from: Cairo
May 31, 2014 5:05 PM
I vote NO comments from any man from India. Pulleeeze!!! No right to talk about violence!! Stop raping and murdering your own women and then you can criticize the rest of the world's men!!
In Response

by: rishabh from: India
May 31, 2014 5:19 PM
Like no rapes or killing of women happens in any other country ? specially Egypt, where foreign reporters were molested by numerous while people live on TV.

by: Boundless from: Earth
May 31, 2014 4:48 PM
So USA not only arming the terrorists but now sending their own suicide bombers to Syria

by: Michael Geoffray from: India
May 31, 2014 4:27 PM
Again, a Islam follower commits an act of peace-destruction. I simply do not understand why only Islam followers commit such heinous crimes? Whereever, whenever any terrorist event happens, you trace, there will certainly be an Islamist behind it. Why?

by: Sanjay from: India
May 31, 2014 3:43 PM
Wherever they go, they brings death.

by: nobozo from: USA
May 31, 2014 3:37 PM
Was this individual an American by birth, culturally raised as an American, that is raised since a child in one of the United States, educated and socialized as an American? Or, how are they identified as "American?" By citizenship means what, naturalized or did he have any other ties to this country through heritage and family?

by: Anonymous
May 31, 2014 2:45 PM
And there are those who want US to ramp up participation in this war. Really? How do you tell the difference between the good the bad and the ugly??
Comments page of 2

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Music Brings Generations Together

When musicians over the age of 50 headline a rock concert, you expect to see baby boomer fans in the audience. Boomer rock stars have boomer fans. Millennial rock stars have millennial fans. But this isn’t always the case. Take the Lockn’ Music festival which took place in mid-September in rural Arrington, Virginia. Here, Jacquelyn de Phillips discovered two generations of people who are considered quite different in the outside world, spending 4 days together in music-loving harmony.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs