U.S. service members were among those killed Wednesday in a fiery explosion at a market in the northern Syria town of Manjib, the U.S. military officials said.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.
“U.S. service members were killed during an explosion while conducting a routine patrol in Syria today,” the military’s Operation Inherent Resolve said in a statement. “We are still gathering information and will share additional details at a later time.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group that monitors the conflict in Syria, said the cause of the explosion was a suicide bomb outside a restaurant. The group said the attack killed 7 people and wounded 10 others.
Reuters, citing an unidentified U.S. official, said four U.S. soldiers were killed and three wounded in a blast. The Kurdish Hawar news agency said at least three Americans had died.
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The White House said President Donald Trump has been fully briefed on the situation.
The explosion took place in a market wedged along a crowded street thick with cars. Video that Hawar identifies as from the scene shows people gathered on a crowded sidewalk when the fiery blast occurs.
A senior Kurdish security official told NBC News the U.S. forces were on foot in the city when they were approached by a man wearing civilian clothing with the explosives hidden underneath.
Since 2016, four U.S. troops had been killed in Syria before the latest attack, according to Pentagon records. Those troops were taking part in Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led effort begun in 2014 to combat ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria.
Last month, President Donald Trump announced that the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria would be withdrawn. Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces from Syria was one of the reasons for stepping down that former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis cited in his resignation letter last month. Mattis had urged Trump to maintain the U.S. presence there to aid Kurdish allies and to deter the Syrian and Iranian regimes.
After confusing signals from the Pentagon and the White House, officials announced last week that equipment had been removed from U.S. facilities in Syria and that all troops would withdraw within months.