Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

American convert to Islam killed during fighting in Syria

WASHINGTON — U.S. officials said Tuesday that an American convert to Islam who recently traveled to Syria apparently has been killed in fighting. The circumstances surrounding the death of Douglas McAuthur McCain, 33, of San Diego remain unclear.

McCain was reportedly killed as rival militant factions fought near Aleppo, but officials could not say whether he was fighting for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or another group.

"We were aware of U.S. citizen Douglas McAuthur McCain's presence in Syria and can confirm his death," National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement Tuesday. "We continue to use every tool we possess to disrupt and dissuade individuals from traveling abroad for violent jihad and to track and engage those who return."

In an interview with CNN, McCain's uncle said his nephew had traveled several months ago to Turkey, a major transit point for foreign fighters hoping to cross into Syria. A U.S. official said law enforcement officials were aware that McCain had traveled to Syria.

McCain's Twitter account with the handle "Iamthetooth" features a series of pro-ISIS tweets, including a recent retweet reading: "It takes a warrior to understand a warrior. Pray for ISIS."

About 100 Americans have traveled to Syria since the conflict began almost four years ago, and at least three have died there, U.S. officials said.

Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, a 22-year-old South Florida man fighting for the Nusra Front, an al-Qaida-affiliated group, committed suicide in May when he drove a dump truck laden with explosives into a Syrian army position, while Nicole Lynn Mansfield, 33, of Michigan was killed a year earlier fighting with Syrian rebels.

Foreign fighters in Syria are a major concern for the United States and European nations that fear they may return home battle-hardened and determined to launch terrorist attacks in the West. FBI officials say they are tracking a dozen or so former fighters who have returned to the United States.

NBC reported that McCain attended college in San Diego but it is unclear whether he graduated.

His sister, Delecia McCain, posted a message on Facebook earlier Tuesday expressing her shock and disbelief about her brother's death.



American convert to Islam killed during fighting in Syria 08/26/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 27, 2014 12:14am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Washington Post.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Forecast: Lots of sunshine, low humidity to start Memorial Day weekend


    The start of your long Memorial Day weekend is all sunshine this Saturday, according to WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Rick Kearbey.

    WTSP seven-day forecast on May 27, 2017.
  2. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting


    The Rays are looking to keep rolling when they make a quick turnaround after Friday's win over the Twins and are back on the field for a matinee today, 2:10 first pitch Tampa Bay time.

    RHP Jake Odorizzi will be on the mound for the Rays, coming off a good but not great start against the Angels, though buoyed …

  3. Global computer outage grounds British flights


    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports Saturday as a global IT failure caused severe disruption for travelers on a busy holiday weekend.

    British Airways planes are parked at Heathrow Airport in January. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, file)
  4. Road rage incident leaves uninvolved man, 52, with critical injuries in Pinellas Park


    PINELLAS PARK — A 52-year-old man was critically injured after an apparent road rage incident that shut down the area of a U.S. 19 overpass for nearly six hours on Friday, police said.

    Pinellas Park police say a man has critical injuries after a truck involved in a road rage incident slammed into him after he cut off another vehicle. (Pinellas Park Police Department)
  5. Britain lowers terror threat level to 'severe' as more arrested


    MANCHESTER, England — Britain reduced its terrorism threat level a notch, from "critical" to "severe," as authorities said major progress has been made in unravelling the plot behind the Manchester bombing. More arrests are expected.

    An army bomb disposal team works with members of the police in the Moss Side area of Manchester, England, on Saturday. British police say they are evacuating residents around a house being searched in connection with the Manchester concert bombing. Police are searching a number of properties and have 11 suspects in custody in connection with Monday's explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, which killed more than 20 people and injured dozens. (Jonathan Brady/PA via AP)