The initial US assessment of the deadly bombing in Syria that killed four Americans is that ISIS was behind the attack, two US officials said Thursday.
One official said it is believed that Wednesday’s attack in Manbij was carried out by an ISIS sleeper cell.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombing on Wednesday. The ISIS-affiliated Amaq agency said the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber with an explosive vest.
The American deaths included two US service members, a defense contractor and a Department of Defense civilian, the US Central Command said in a statement. Three other US service members were injured in the attack, which killed at least 10 other people.
The attack came less than a month after President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of US troops from Syria on the premise that the US had “won against ISIS.”
The US has about 2,000 troops in Syria, with no specific date for their withdrawal. Last week, the US began withdrawing some military ground equipment from Syria, according to an administration official with direct knowledge of the operation.
Following Wednesday’s attack, two US officials told CNN that there are no current plans to reverse Trump’s decision to begin withdrawing US troops from Syria.
The President continues to believe that it’s time for US troops to return home, the officials said. Specific withdrawal plans remain contingent on events on the ground, including the strength of ISIS but also security guarantees for the Kurds.
Prior to Wednesday’s attack, only two US service members had been killed in action in Syria since the start of the campaign in 2014.