Three French soldiers have been killed in Libya, according to the country’s defense ministry.
"Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian regrets the loss of three French officers who died while on mission in Libya," the ministry said in a statement. “He lauds the bravery and devotion of the French military personnel who, each day, are carrying out dangerous missions against terrorists.”
The ministry did not elaborate on how exactly the soldiers were killed, but the soldiers are the first reported Western military casualties from since it became known earlier this year that special forces operators were working on the ground in Libya.
France has had jets flying reconnaissance missions over Libya.
Le Drian told parliament last month that France had been conducting the missions in Libya “for some time.”
“We need to see what’s going on,” he said.
The French military, along with the British and US militaries, has been backing Libya’s unity government in battling jihadists from the Islamic State group since earlier this year.
IS has established a stronghold for itself in the coastal Libyan town of Sirte, but Libyan forces have been battling to retake the city for the past two months.