A California man was killed over the weekend while fighting for the Islamic State terrorist group, NBC reported Tuesday.
Sources in the Free Syrian Army told NBC that they found the body of Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, after a battle. NBC said that Mr. McCain was identified because he had his American passport in his pocket, and also bore a distinct neck tattoo.
A woman claiming to be Mr. McCain’s aunt confirmed that he had “passed,” NBC said. The State Department has not yet commented.
NBC news reported that Mr. McCain called himself “Duale ThaslaveofAllah” on social media outlets, posting in his bio that “it’s Islam over everything.”
Asked about the news, Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania said that the rise of American citizens joining extremist groups in the Middle East is a major concern.
“We have to pay attention not to just what happens in Syria and Iraq, but we have to pay attention to efforts here in the United States that lead to radicalization, and then the individual goes across the world and engages in terror attacks around the world sometimes against Americans,” Mr. Casey, a Democrat, said on MSNBC.
If true, Mr. McCain would be one of a small number of U.S. citizens who have traveled to Syria to join the civil war that has torn the country apart and given ISIS a base of operations. U.S. intelligence officials have estimated that fewer than 100 Americans have joined the conflict.
There has been renewed attention on foreign citizens from democratic countries becoming involved in conflicts around the world. The Islamic State terrorist who beheaded American journalist James Foley has since been identified as a British citizen, drawing criticisms that the U.K. is not doing enough to stop homegrown threats and raising fears that U.S. citizens could do the same.
A spokesperson for England’s Home Office sent a statement to The Washington Times that the nation has taken steps to prevent internal terrorist propaganda and recruitment.
“Since 2011, we have implemented a raft of practical measures to strengthen our approach, in prisons, schools, universities and online,” the spokesperson said. “We have excluded more preachers of hate than any other U.K. government and the police regularly disrupt events which feature extremist preachers. Since 2010, we have taken down over 47,000 pieces of illegal terrorist material from the internet.”
• Seth McLaughlin contributed to this report.