UK & World News
American Jihadist Douglas McCain Dies In Syria
An American man suspected of fighting for the Islamic State extremist group was killed in Syria last weekend, the White House has confirmed.
US officials said they were aware that Douglas McCain, 33, had travelled to the country to join a militant group.
He was killed in a battle with another insurgent group, the Free Syrian Army, according to NBC News.
McCain's American passport was reportedly found in his pocket along with about $800 (£480) in cash.
His uncle, Ken McCain, said the State Department had informed the "devastated" family of his nephew's death.
McCain converted from Christianity to Islam several years ago, according to the uncle.
White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden confirmed the death. The FBI is said to be investigating.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said: "We are in contact with the family and are providing all possible consular assistance."
On Facebook, where McCain used the name Duale ThaslaveofAllah, he had posted comments sympathetic to Islamic State, and uploaded a photo of its black flag.
His Twitter biography reads: "It's Islam over everything."
McCain reportedly grew up around Minneapolis, Minnesota, before attending community college in San Diego, California.
He is said to have been interested in rap and basketball before turning to militancy.
His sister, Delecia McCain, wrote on her Facebook page: "I really don't understand why and how and I have no words, I never thought this will be the way we say goodbye ... This is absolutely unreal to me I love you big brother."
He is thought to have been one of dozens of US citizens fighting with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Earlier this year it emerged that a 22-year-old Florida man, Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha, had become the first American to carry out a suicide bombing in Syria. He was said to have joined the al Nusra front, another Islamist insurgent group.
In May last year, a Muslim convert from Michigan, Nicole Mansfield, 33, was killed in Syria while reportedly attempting to attack government forces.
The Islamic State group recently beheaded a US reporter, James Foley, and threatened to kill other American captives to avenge US airstrikes against the militants in Iraq.
Another journalist, Steven Sotloff, was seen alive in the same jihadist video.
It was reported on Tuesday that a third American hostage - a 26-year-old female aid worker - was being held by Islamic State.
She is said to have been captured last year while working with humanitarian groups in Syria. Media have agreed to withhold her name at the request of family members and officials.
State Department officials would not comment on reports that a $6.6m ransom had been demanded for her release.