A jihadist fighter with the al-Qa'ida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra group is thought to have become the first Briton to carry out a suicide attack in Syria.
The man, known only by his nom de guerre, Abu Suleiman al-Britani, blew himself up by driving a lorry, loaded with explosives, into Aleppo's central jail on Thursday, according to British fighters in Syria. Hundreds of rebels followed behind, managing to free up to 300 inmates and destroying part of the prison, which is being used as a military base by the Syrian army.
If confirmed, Britani – believed to be British-born and of Pakistani origin – would be the eighth Briton to die fighting since Syria's bloody civil war began three years ago.
Shiraz Maher, a senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King's College in London, made contact with British citizens in Syria who said they were affiliated to Britani. In a text reply, he was told by militants: "Lol, yes, news travels fast. The first British brother!"
Syrian rebel fighters have posted footage online of the attack on the prison, including in the soundtrack recorded radio conversations between Nusra fighters that took place during the operation.
One photograph taken before the attack, which was posted on Twitter, appears to show the modified lorry, or Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED), decked with the black Jabhat al-Nusra flag, used in the attack.
Another picture shows large plumes of spoke after the device was detonated.
Mr Maher said his contacts had intimate knowledge of Jabhat al-Nusra's operation on the prison. (© Daily Telegraph, London)