WASHINGTON — The Air Force has detained a U.S. service member in connection with an attack in April at a small American military base in northeastern Syria that wounded four U.S. troops, the service said on Tuesday.
An airman was taken into custody at an undisclosed location in the United States on Thursday in relation to the attack on the Green Village base in Syria, Ann Stefanek, an Air Force spokeswoman, said in a statement. The airman, having completed a tour of duty in Syria, had returned home, she said.
“After reviewing the information in the investigation, the airman’s commander made the decision to place him in pretrial confinement,” Ms. Stefanek said in the statement.
The Air Force did not identify the airman or provide any details about the incident, but two U.S. military officials said the airman is an explosives expert. Ms. Stefanek said that the airman 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 airman’s detainment.
Initially, Pentagon officials had said they believed the April 7 attack was caused by a rocket or mortar attack. Such attacks have periodically been carried out by militia or terrorist groups against some of the roughly 900 American troops based in Syria primarily to advise and assist Syrian Kurdish allies on the ground.
But a week later, in a development reported earlier by CNN, military officials said in a statement that the attack was believed to have resulted from the “deliberate placement of explosive charges by an unidentified individual(s) at an ammunition holding area and shower facility.”
The investigation into what military officials now believe was an insider attack on the Green Village site is being carried out by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.
The four wounded service members were diagnosed with and treated for traumatic brain injuries after the explosions, but returned to duty later in April, military officials said.