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ISIS claims credit as four American troops killed in Syria

January 16, 2019 GMT

The Islamic State has claimed credit for a deadly suicide attack in the Syrian city of Manbij Wednesday that reportedly killed four American troops and wounded several others.

The bombing targeted a joint patrol of American and Kurdish forces near the Qasr al Umara restaurant in downtown Manbij, according to local reports. ISIS touted the attack on the group’s online propaganda site Amaq News agency.

The attack comes as the Pentagon is preparing to carry out President Trump’s order to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria. The roughly 2,000 American troops have been working with local Kurdish and Arab forces to battle Islamic State.

Manbij has thus far been the main training and logistics hub for U.S. forces inside Syria.

Local news outlets, citing eyewitness reports, said four U.S. troops were killed in the blast, which left another three Americans injured. A U.S. official confirmed to Reuters that four U.S. troops died as a result of the attack. Officials from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that at least 14 Syrian civilians were also killed in the deadly attack.

Officials from Operation Inherent Resolve, the American-led mission against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, declined to comment on the details of the attack. Command officials are “aware of ... reports regarding an explosion in Syria,” Spokesman Col. Sean Ryan said in a Twitter post Wednesday morning.

“Coalition forces conducted a routine patrol in Syria today. We are still gathering information and . . . additional details,” he added.

President Trump has been briefed on the incident, the White House said Wednesday. “The president has been fully briefed and we will continue to monitor the ongoing situation in Syria,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Mr. Trump reportedly agreed to pull out all U.S. troops from Syria in December, after a conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who in return agreed to provide Turkish forces to battle remnants of the Islamic State in the wake of the American withdrawal.

*David Boyer contributed to this report