Libyan forces allied with the U.N.-backed government look at the positions of Islamic States fighters in the West part of Sirte, Libya, on July 19, 2016.
Goran Tomasevic—Reuters
July 20, 2016 7:44 AM EDT

Military officials confirmed Wednesday that three French soldiers were killed in Libya, without providing much detail of the circumstances of the deaths.

“Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian regrets the loss of three French officers who died while on mission in Libya,” the defense ministry said in a statement, according to AFP.

While the French had previously let it be known that its warplanes were flying reconnaissance missions over Libya, reports AFP, Paris had never confirmed its soldiers were on the ground.

ISIS has taken advantage of turmoil in Libya, establishing bases, including the coastal city of Sirte—where Libyan forces have been battling with ISIS for control for the past two months.

According to AFP, Le Drian told the French legislature that the nation had been gathering intelligence “for some time” in Libya.

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