IS suicide car bomber ‘was from Huddersfield’

Mohammed Rizwan Awan, said to be from Huddersfield
Mohammed Rizwan Awan, said to be from Huddersfield
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A YORKSHIRE family are said to fear that a British-born suicide bomber who carried out an attack in Iraq was their son, according to reports.

The so-called Islamic State (IS) fighter was said to have died in a suicide attack in Iraq.

The militant had been named as Abu Musa al-Britani, the suffix regularly being used to denote a British fighter.

However the BBC are now reporting that the family of Mohammed Rizwan Awan, in Huddersfield, believe it to be their son.

Awan is said to have left the UK after telling his family he was going to Saudi Arabia and has not been heard from since.

IS social media accounts yesterday confirmed the death of “al Britani” in the al-Anbar province west of Iraqi capital Baghdad. It also claimed “nearly 30” people died in the attack on Iraqi forces.

The actual death toll has been disputed.

Another jihadi fighter with the exact same name was mortally wounded during a suicide attack in Iraq, in May last year.

Kyle Orton, an associate fellow with the Henry Jackson Society human rights group specialising in the Middle East, said it was likely the death toll was “exaggerated” for political gain.

He said: “I have looked through some of the reports coming out of Baghdad and I don’t think 30 people have been killed.

“It is such an exaggerated figure, done for propaganda purposes.

“Although the Iraqi government has denied this death toll, they are also prone to an awful lot of exaggeration.

“If they are saying only the bomber died, it is likely the figure is somewhere between the two - but certainly not as many as 30.”

The victims are believed to be state security personnel, as well as aligned Sunni forces.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We are aware of these reports, but cannot confirm them.”

The North East Counter Terrorism Unit said it had “been made aware of media reports with regard to the death of a British National in Iraq”.

A spokeswoman said: “The identity of the person who has reportedly died has not been confirmed at this time and we are unable to comment further.”

Russ Foster, assistant chief constable of West Yorkshire Police and counter-terror lead for the North East, said: “As part of the Prevent initiative West Yorkshire Police is committed to working with communities and local authorities, to highlight the dangers associated with radicalisation and travel to regions such as Syria and Iraq.

“We are all committed to working together to help identify vulnerable members of our society and intervene and engage with them before it is too late.”