Suicide bomber kills U.S. troops in Syria; ISIS claims responsibility

A suicide bomber detonated a powerful explosive near a U.S.-led coalition patrol in northern Syria on Wednesday, killing four Americans, a military official said.

The blast rocked a shopping market located along several small alleys in Manbij. The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported at least 16 people were killed.

Two American military service members, one American civilian employee of the Defense Department, and one American contractor were among the dead, U.S. Central Command said.

"U.S. service members were killed during an explosion while conducting a routine patrol in Syria today. We are still gathering information and will share additional details at a later time," a spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, wrote on Twitter.

Images from the scene showed extensive damage to vehicles, a restaurant, and other buildings. Debris and blood covered the street.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks. The terror group said a member detonated a vest of explosives. The Kurdish-led Manbij Military Council, which runs the town, also said a suicide bomber was involved.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that officials had briefed President Trump about the attack.

In December, Trump abruptly announced that U.S. forces would soon withdraw from Syria and that ISIS in Syria had been defeated although he didn't back up that claim with any data. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis resigned over the president's move.

Attacks on U.S. forces in Syria are relatively rare. The last American military fatality there was in March 2018 when a roadside bomb killed one U.S. service member and one British soldier.

With The Associated Press