Treasure Coast Essay
7:20 am
Mon June 9, 2014

The suicide bomber from here


Emails to me from friends and relatives around the country expressed amazement: “The American suicide bomber in Syria was from Vero Beach?!” They learned from the news media that the family of Moner Mohammad Abu-Salha live in Vero Beach (actually a bit north of the city), that he attended Sebastian River High School, that he loved to play basketball and that for a while he occupied an apartment in Fort Pierce.  On May 25th, Abu-Salha, 22, drove a truck to a restaurant containing Syrian government troops and detonated 16 tons of explosives, killing himself and an unknown number of others.   Apparently, he had joined an extremist rebel group.  Neighbors back home described Abu-Salha as a nice kid.  Polite.  Cheerful.  They told reporters that his family  – father, mother, two brothers and a sister – had lost touch with him.  I was reminded of the national news accounts after the 9-11 attacks that said several of the hijackers may have attended a flight training school in Vero Beach.  Later, law enforcement agencies concluded that none of the hijackers had any connection with the school.  But there seems no doubt that this suicide bomber did have his roots here.  My friends and relatives are amazed.  So am I.  For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.