An Australian man is suspected of carrying out a suicide bombing attack in Syria on behalf of the proscribed terror group the al-Nusrah Front.
Photos of the suspected bomber with his face blurred out have been circulating on social media websites as community members in Australia attempted to verify his identity.
Some sites were reporting that the man was from Queensland and had travelled to Syria with his wife before sending her back to Australia just a short time ago.
The man, referred to by multiple jihadist social media accounts as “Abu Asma al-Australi”, died following a car-bomb attack on a school where troops had been stationed in the city of Deir al-Zor, the sixth largest in the war torn country.
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the Australian Government was aware of reports that an Australian had killed himself in a suicide bombing in eastern Syria, but could not confirm any of the speculation.
He said the government is seriously concerned that Australians are fighting in Syria, including some with al- Qaeda linked al-Nusrah.
“This is being handled as a security and intelligence matter. It is the long-standing practice of Australian Governments not to comment on security and intelligence matters,” he said.
Video footage purported to be of the aftermath of the incident, and viewed by Fairfax Media, shows a large cloud of smoke seen to rise high up in the air, visible kilometers away.
Up to 200 Australians have reportedly joined the fighting in Syria, with ASIO chief David Irvine earlier this year confirming domestic intelligence agency is attempting to monitor their movements.
The timing of the attack is still unknown however the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the bombing had sparked fighting in the city that was still ongoing.
“Regular forces are still clashing with al-Nusra Front and several rebel factions in the perimeter of the Deir Izzor military airport, after a suicide bomber from al-Nusra called “Abu Asma’ al-Australi” blew up himself in a detonated car in the school in al-Mre’iya town in which regular forces are centralized, it lies near the Deir Izzor military airport,” the groups website states.
Other online posts made by Islamic news accounts include: “@AlNusrawi: The martyr who carried out a martyrdom operation in Deir al Zor is Abu Asma’ al Ustrali.”
Al-Nusrah announced its presence in Syria via a video statement in January 2012.
The al-Qaeda linked Syrian terrorist group was listed a terrorist organisaiton by the federal government in March.
It’s stated objectives are to remove President Bashar al-Assad and create a salafist-oriented Sunni Islamist state in Syria.
Al-Nusrah believes its actions, which included multiple vehicle suicide bombings in Damascus that killed up to 100 people in February, are supported by religious texts.Source: Brisbane Times – Australian man in Syria, ‘Abu Asma al-Australi’, suspected to be suicide bomber
- Australian Muslims fighting in Syria now pose a threat on the streets of Sydney (craighill.net)
- Aussie man suspected bomber (smh.com.au)
- Aussie suspected to be suicide bomber (theage.com.au)
- Australian in Syria suicide attack (bigpondnews.com)
- Australian man reportedly blew himself up in suicide bombing at Syrian military airport (abc.net.au)
- Australian in Syria suicide attack: report (news.com.au)
- Australia Now Has Suicide Bombers… (frstephensmuts.wordpress.com)
- Australian ‘blows himself up in Syria’ (news.com.au)
- Australian ‘blows himself up in Syria’ (pumabydesign001.com)
- Australian ‘blows himself up in Syria’ (catholicglasses.com)
- Suicide bomber kills six in Syria restaurant: reports (dailystar.com.lb)