Four U.S. citizens were killed and three wounded in a blast on Wednesday in the Syrian town of Manbij, a U.S. official confirmed. The victims were two service members, one Department of Defense-affiliated civilian, and one contractor supporting DOD work. The attack comes just weeks after President Trump declared ISIS was defeated and ordered the withdrawal of United States forces. The blast is reported to have happened in the northern city of Manbij on Wednesday, according to Britain-based war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, and is said to have killed 16 people in total. An ISIS-affiliated website, Amaq, claimed a foreign military patrol was targeted in a suicide attack, but that claim has not been verified. The attack reportedly targeted the Qasr al-Umara restaurant where American soldiers would sometimes stop to eat during their patrols of the area.
A witness told Reuters the attack took place near a vegetable market and that a “heavy” presence of coalition military aircraft was now flying over Manbij. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “The President has been fully briefed and we will continue to monitor the ongoing situation in Syria.” Vice President Mike Pence, speaking at a gathering of American ambassadors at the State Department headquarters on Wednesday, said the U.S. still plans to pull troops out of Syria despite the attack, adding that the United States would “stay in the fight to ensure that ISIS does not rear its ugly head again.”