Islamic State group kills 7 US-backed fighters in Syria

Islamic State group kills 7 US-backed fighters in Syria”

Suspected jihadists killed seven US-backed fighters in the northern Syrian city of Manbij, its military council said on Tuesday, days after the Islamic State group's "caliphate" was declared defeated. ISIS militants were blamed for several attacks in the Manbij area in recent months.

Sharfan Darwish, of the Kurdish-led Manbij Military Council, told The Associated Press that the Tuesday morning attack hit a checkpoint at one the entrances of Manbij.

In its claim of responsibility, IS said its followers targeted a checkpoint on the western edge of Manbij and confiscated the weapons of the USA -backed fighters.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, agreed that the attack had the hallmarks of an ISIS cell, which would make it "the first attack of its kind" since the SDF's victory announcement.

The attack was the deadliest in Manbij since the January 16 suicide bombing on a restaurant that killed 19 people, including four USA service personnel.

A spokesman for the Manbij Military Council, Sherfan Darwish, said it could be a revenge attack.

France supports the prosecution of Islamic State fighters now in custody in Syria and Iraq, but an global tribunal is a "complex operation", France's Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday.

The Observatory said hundreds of SDF members had been killed in attacks believed to have been carried out by ISIS sleeper cells since August. Victims included four U.S. military personnel.

Some 30 km (20 miles) from the Turkish border, Manbij has been a flashpoint in the Syrian conflict and occupies a critical spot, near the junction of three separate blocks of territory that form the spheres of Russian, Turkish and US influence.

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