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Kurds arrest U.S. defector from Islamic State in Iraq

By Ed Adamczyk Follow @adamczyk_ed Contact the Author   |   March 14, 2016 at 9:58 AM

SINJAR , Iraq, March 14 (UPI) -- Kurdish troops in Iraq arrested an American defector from the Islamic State, Kurdish authorities said.

Officials took 27-year-old Muhammad Jamal Amin, of Virginia, into custody after he approached a checkpoint near Sinjar, Iraq. Kurdish Peshmerga forces suspected he was a suicide bomber and fired warning shots in his direction. Amin told the Kurdish troops that he was looking to leave the Islamic State and travel to Turkey.

Amin identified himself as an U.S. citizen with a Palestinian father and Iraqi mother. Kurdish television displayed his passport, a Virginia driver's license and other identification he was carrying at the time of his arrest, sources told CBS News.

The Kurdistan Regional Government, controller of northern Iraqi territory that borders Turkey and Syria, is investigating the matter, a Kurdish official said.

Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said they could not confirm the arrest. U.S. intelligence assessments indicate that about a dozen U.S. citizens have joined the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

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