IS claims fatal attack on US-backed forces in Syria

IS militants kill seven US-backed fighters in Syria

Islamic State said on Tuesday it had launched a deadly attack on Kurdish forces in northern Syria overnight, the first such claim by the group since US -backed forces proclaimed the capture of its last territory in Syria last week. ISIS militants were blamed for several attacks in the Manbij area in recent months.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but council spokesman Sherfan Darwish said he suspected an ISIS sleeper cell.

He says it's unclear who was behind the attack and added that the "martyrs were carrying out their mission of protecting Manbij".

Observatory head Rami Abdul Rahman said it was also the bloodiest attack in Manbij since January 16, when 19 people, including four United States service personnel, were killed in a suicide bombing claimed by ISIS.

"The caliphate's soldiers attacked a checkpoint. west of Manbij city last night", it said.

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"After the victory over ISIS, we have entered the phase of sleeper cells", Mr Darwish told AFP.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group, it was also the bloodiest in the city since a suicide attack that killed 19, including four United States service people, in a restaurant in January.

The attack on Tuesday occurred in Manbij in northern Syria, where Kurdish forces have been helping police the city. Victims included four United States military personnel. A USA official said all the casualties were among members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The attack indicates ISIS can still launch deadly insurgent strikes and is far from being completely defeated, despite losing all the territory it once controlled in Iraq and Syria, including most recently in Baghuz in eastern Syria. They criticized the USA for taking an "unconstructive" stance and denying entry to the camp.

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