An American man suspected of fighting with Islamic State militants operating in Iraq and Syria has been killed in the region, a US security official said on Monday.
The official, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters that the FBI was investigating the death of 33-year-old Douglas McAuthur McCain.
A spokeswoman for the US State Department could not confirm media reports that McCain had been killed in Syria but said the department had been in contact with his family and was providing “all consular assistance.”
Family members told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that McCain’s mother had been called by a State Department official reporting that he had been killed in Syria over the weekend.
The newspaper said the family had been concerned with McCain’s expressions of support of the Sunni Muslim militant group Islamic State, which has seized large areas of Iraq and Syria to the alarm of the Baghdad government and its allies in the West.
NBC News reported that McCain was born in Illinois and moved with his family to the Twin Cities area, where he graduated from high school in the Minneapolis suburb of New Hope in 1999. He later moved to the San Diego area, where he attended community college.
Attorney General Eric Holder said in July that US intelligence agencies estimate around 7,000 of roughly 23,000 violent extremists operating in Syria are foreign fighters, including dozens of Americans.
Holder said federal prosecutors had opened fewer than 100 investigations into American citizens who may have traveled to Syria or Iraq to fight.
In May, a 22-year-old man from Florida carried out a suicide bombing in Syria’s Idlib province, and a Denver woman was arrested in July on suspicion of trying to fly to Syria to support insurgents. Two men in Texas were taken into custody on similar charges in June.
One of the Texas men was charged with “attempting to provide material support to terrorists,” a law that Holder urged other countries to copy as vital to counter terrorism efforts.
Date created : 2014-08-27