An Iraqi Kurdish general says a Palestinian-American member of the Islamic State terror group has given himself up to an Iraqi Kurdish military unit in the country’s north.
Maj. Gen. Feisal Helkani of the Peshmerga forces identified the individual as Mohammed Jamal Amin, a Palestinian-American.
He says Amin surrendered on Monday morning near the town of Sinjar, which was retaken by Iraqi forces from IS terrorists late last year.
Helkani says Amin was carrying with him a large amount of cash, three cell phones and three forms of identification, including a United States driving license.
Iraqi forces have struggled to retake ground from the Islamic State, which despite a series of territorial losses in Iraq and Syria in the past six months, still controls large swaths of land in both countries.
CBS News, citing two sources with the Kurdish peshmerga military force, said the apparent defector was trying to return to Turkey.
The State Department said it was aware of the reports that a U.S. citizen allegedly fighting for Islamic State was captured by Kurdish peshmerga forces in northern Iraq.
“We are in touch with Iraqi and Kurdish authorities to determine the veracity of these reports,” a State Department official in Washington said on customary condition of anonymity.
CNN, which also reported the incident, said the terrorist was captured near Sinjar and handed over to Kurdish authorities in the region.
Peshmerga forces initially fired warning shots when they saw the man on concerns he was a suicide bomber, but he identified himself as a former member of Islamic State who wanted to turn himself in, according to CBS.
Amin had fought with the terrorists for a couple of months, it said, citing Kurdish reports.