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The State Department confirmed Friday that an American man named Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha launched a suicide bombing against Syrian government troops Sunday, an attack believed to be linked to an Al Qaeda-backed militant group.
Spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed the man’s name in a statement to the Associated Press Friday, but did not provide other details. Earlier, Psaki said Abu-Salha was thought to be the first U.S. citizen to be involved in a suicide bombing in Syria’s three-year civil war and was also known as “al-Amriki,” which means “the American” in Arabic.
The Miami Herald, citing law enforcement officials, reported Friday that the 22-year-old lived at some point in Fort Pierce, located about 130 miles north of Miami, and played high school basketball in Vero Beach.
Basketball statistics posted on a youth sports website show Abusalha played in 2007 for the Indian River Warriors, a team based in Vero Beach, the Herald reported. Records show his parents have lived there and owned several grocery stores along the Treasure Coast.