A United States citizen who is believed to have defected his homeland to join ISIS has been captured on Monday in northern Iraq. According to multiple news sources, the suspect in question is believed to be former Virginia resident Muhammad Jamal Amin. The 27-year-old, who was born in the U.S., is the son of a Palestinian father and Iraqi mother.The suspected suicide bomber was apprehended by Turkish peshmerga military forces stationed at the northern border of Iraq.
"We are aware of reports that a U.S. citizen that was allegedly fighting for Da'esh [Islamic State] has been captured by peshmerga forces in Northern Iraq," an unnamed U.S. State Department official told USA Today. "We are in touch with Iraqi and Kurdish authorities to determine the veracity of these reports."
He was taken to Erbil, Turkey, where the U.S. has a military presence.
CBS News -- citing Kurdish news agency Rudaw -- noted that Amin is believed to have only been in the region fighting alongside ISIS for a "couple months."
The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, when pressed for comment, told CBS News that it could neither confirm nor deny the detention of any American citizens in the region. Intelligence officials, however, have noted to the news outlet that roughly 12 citizens have left the United States to seek an alliance with ISIS forces in both Iraq and Syria.
The news of defector Muhammad Jamal Amin's potential capture comes less than a year after FBI director James Comey told observers via written testimony at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing that "Upwards of 200 Americans have traveled or attempted to travel to Syria to participate in the conflict." Comey would also note that, while U.S. citizens are free to travel, that "these threats remain among the highest priorities for the FBI and the intelligence community as a whole."
The story also comes on the heels, USA Today noted, of what it called a "disillusioned former Islamic State militant" releasing "tens of thousands of documents" that are believed to contain the personal information -- names, addresses, and phone numbers -- of up to 22,000 ISIS agents.
No indication has been given as to whether Muhammad Jamal Amin -- or any of his other current or former U.S. citizen compatriots who are believed to have defected the country to join ISIS efforts in the Middle East -- are actually listed in this report that was handed over to authorities.
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