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Pentagon identifies three of the four Americans killed in Syria suicide bombing

Pentagon identifies three of the four Americans killed in Syria suicide bombing
Passers-by check the site of a Jan. 17 suicide attack targeting U.S.-led coalition forces in the northern Syrian city of Manbij. (Delil Souleiman / AFP/Getty Images)

The Defense Department on Friday identified three of the four Americans who were killed Wednesday in a suicide bombing in Syria that was claimed by Islamic State.

In a statement, the Pentagon named the three as Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, Fla.; Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon M. Kent, 35, of upstate New York; and Defense Department civilian Scott A. Wirtz of St. Louis.

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The fourth American, a civilian contractor, was not immediately identified.

The four were killed, and three other Americans were wounded, when a suicide bomber on foot detonated an explosive vest in front of a restaurant in the northern Syrian city of Manbij as they were meeting with local military officials.

It was the largest loss of life in the Pentagon’s war against Islamic State militants in Syria and a sign of the potent threat that the group still poses as the Trump administration begins to withdraw U.S. forces from the country.

The Pentagon said the Americans were supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led coalition battling Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

It said Farmer was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), at Ft. Campbell, Ky. Kent was assigned to Cryptologic Warfare Activity 66, based at Ft. Meade, Md. Wirtz was an operations support specialist with the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Kent enlisted in the Navy in 2003 and served on assignments at Ft. Gordon, Ga.; Norfolk, Va., and Washington, in addition to Ft. Meade, the Navy said.

"She was a rockstar, an outstanding Chief Petty Officer, and leader to many in the Navy Information Warfare Community," Cmdr. Joseph Harrison, the head of her unit at Ft. Meade, said in a statement.

The Pentagon said the suicide bombing “is under investigation.”

President Trump’s surprise Dec. 19 announcement that Islamic State had been defeated and that U.S. troops would be coming home drew widespread criticism, including from Republican allies who warned that a premature American departure could allow militants to return.

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