CAIRO — The suicide bomber who killed 22 other people in a U.S. mess hall near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul was a Saudi medical student, an Arab newspaper reported Monday.
Saudi-owned Asharq al Awsat identified the bomber as 20-year-old Ahmed Said Ahmed Ghamdi, citing unidentified friends of the man's father. The friends said members of an Iraqi insurgent group contacted Ghamdi's father to tell him his son was the suicide bomber who carried out the Dec. 21 attack, the deadliest on an American installation in Iraq.
The father refused to discuss the bombing but told the newspaper that his son had gone to Iraq to fight the Americans and had died there.
The family held a mourning ceremony, the paper said. It did not say when the rite occurred or where in Saudi Arabia the family lived.
Saudi security officials did not respond Monday to phone calls seeking comment.
U.S. officials have said their preliminary investigation indicated that the bomber was not an Iraqi soldier but was dressed in an Iraqi military uniform when he entered the mess tent, which was packed with soldiers eating lunch.
The paper did not name the Iraqi insurgent group that reportedly recruited Ghamdi. But Ansar al Sunna, a radical Islamic Iraqi group that has been active in northern Iraq, claimed responsibility for the mess hall attack. In a videotape posted on a website, Ansar al Sunna identified the bomber as Abu Omar Mosuli -- an apparent nom de guerre meaning Abu Omar of Mosul.
Asharq al Awsat said Ghamdi began studying medicine in Sudan when his father worked and lived there.