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Islamic State Group Attacks Former Stronghold in Syria, Killing 6

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The Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility for an attack Monday that killed six fighters affiliated with U.S.-backed security forces in northeast Syria.

Local officials said the attack targeted a security headquarters in the city of Raqqa, which was the de facto capital of IS until 2017, when U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) removed the militant group.

The incident, in which one of two IS attackers was killed, prompted local authorities to declare an emergency and a citywide curfew as security forces started a sweeping campaign to search for potential sleeper cells belonging to IS, also known as ISIS or Daesh.

The other attacker, who was reportedly wearing an explosive belt, was detained by the SDF, according to a statement by Ali Hajo, co-chair of the department of the interior at the Kurdish-led autonomous administration in northeast Syria.

Mazloum Abdi, the general commander of the SDF, said Monday that his forces have received intelligence about “dangerous preparations by Daesh cells in Raqqa.”

IS militants ruled large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq until 2019, when U.S.-backed forces declared the military defeat of the terror group. However, IS has remained active in many parts of both countries, relying on surprise guerrilla attacks on civilians and security forces.

Last week, nine policemen were killed in an attack claimed by IS militants in the northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk.

U.S. forces said last week they conducted three helicopter raids in eastern Syria, which resulted in the detention of six IS operatives.

U.S. military officials say they remain committed to supporting their partners in Iraq and Syria until IS no longer poses a threat.

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