WASHINGTON.- Four Americans died Wednesday and three others were wounded in a suicide attack claimed by the Islamic State in the northern Syrian city of Manbij, the Pentagon confirmed.
Two US servicemembers, one Department of Defense civilian and one contractor supporting DoD were killed and three servicemembers were injured while conducting a local engagement, the US Central Command, which is tasked with US military operations in Syria, said in a statement.
The bomb attack occurred in the Qasr al Umara restaurant in the center of Manbij, killing a total of at least 16 people and wounding about a dozen, according to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The US-led international coalition fighting the IS – also known as ISIS – had confirmed a little earlier on Wednesday that several US soldiers had died in the attack, but it provided no further details.
Centcom said that it is investigating the “explosion” in Manbij and did not publicly identify the dead because, according to Pentagon protocol, it does not do so until relatives of the casualties have been notified.
The attack is the first since the US announced the withdrawal of its troops from Syria, a redeployment from the northern part of the country – where Washington has been supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces, an armed alliance led by Kurdish troops – which began on Jan. 11.
US President Donald Trump was informed of the attack but made no statement, although Vice President Mike Pence and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did.
“Our deepest sympathies and love go out to the families of the brave American heroes who were killed today in Syria,” Sanders said in a statement.
“President Trump and I condemn the terrorist attack in Syria that claimed American lives and our hearts are with the loved ones of the fallen. We honor their memory and we will never forget their service and sacrifice,” said Pence.