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Air Force Detains Airman in Attack on U.S. Base in Syria

WASHINGTON — The Air Force has detained a U.S. soldier in connection with an April attack on a small U.S. military base in northeast Syria that left four U.S. troops injured, the agency said Tuesday.

An airman was detained Thursday at an undisclosed location in the United States in connection with the attack on the Green Village base in Syria, Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman, said in a statement. The pilot, who had completed a mission trip in Syria, had returned home, she said.

“After reviewing the information contained in the investigation, the pilot’s commander has made the decision to place him in pre-trial detention,” Ms Stefanek said in the statement.

The Air Force has not identified the pilot or provided details of the incident, but two US military officials said the pilot is an explosives expert. Ms Stefanek said the pilot had not been charged, adding that “it is too early in the process” to do so, and that the military would release more information if charges were filed.

CNN had previously reported the arrest of the pilot.

Initially, Pentagon officials had said they believed the April 7 attack was caused by a rocket or mortar attack. Such attacks have been carried out periodically by militias or terrorist groups against some of the approximately 900 US troops stationed in Syria, mainly to advise and assist Syrian Kurdish allies on the ground.

But a week later, in a development previously reported by CNN, military officials said in a statement that the attack was believed to have resulted from the “deliberate placement of explosives by an unidentified person in an ammunition storage room and shower facility.”

The investigation into what military officials now believe was an inside attack on the Green Village site is being conducted by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

The four injured servicemen were diagnosed with and treated for traumatic brain injuries after the explosions, but returned to service later in April, military officials said.

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